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.