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The World Gold Council regularly publishes stats on which central banks around the world are owners of gold (you have to register to view the doc, but it’s free).

The long and the short of it is that Europeans and the US are far and away the largest owners of the metal overall. A more important measure, though, is how what percentage of a country’s forex reserves is held in gold. This has tremendous implications for the price of gold itself.

Here are the highlights: The US has 74.5% of its foreign exchange reserves in gold, with Germany, France, and Italy all above 60% as well. Spain is at 48.9%, Austria at 43.3%, and so on. However, of the top five holders of reserves globally (each of which has over $200 billion in reserves), all have less than 5% of reserves in gold. China’s $1 trillion plus reserves are only 1.3% gold-denominated, and Japan’s $880 billion stand at 1.8%.

Asian countries are the world’s leaders in overall reserves, but laggards in terms of purchasing gold with those reserves. For a potential gold investor, this means that a even a slight shift in their allocation could have huge bullish implications for the yellow metal.

Source: Who Owns The World's Gold - And Who's Buying