The World Gold Council (WGC) has today announced its regular statistical update on gold reserves in the official sector. This monthly release includes (1) World Official Gold Holdings ranking gold holdings by country, (2) a spreadsheet with the latest changes in official sector gold holdings. As noted, these are not completely up to date - except for the Chinese reserve figure where we have added in the 19.8 tonne change in our table. We are also only showing the Top 20 national plus IMF holdings in our table below - a full table for all countries as reported to the IMF is available on the WGC website.
Table 1. Top 20 Gold Reserves as reported to the IMF
|Tonnes||% of reserves**|
* This table was updated in December 2015 and reports data available at that time. Data are taken from the International Monetary Fund's International Financial Statistics (IFS), December 2015 edition, and other sources where applicable. IFS data are two months in arrears, so holdings are as of October 2015 for most countries, September 2015 or earlier for late reporters
What analysts primarily look out for are for any month-by-month changes in the official holdings figures. As can be seen below, the only significant regular additions to gold reserves in the second half of the year are by Russia (95.6 tonnes in the four months to end October), China (83.9 tonnes in the five months to end November) and Kazakhstan (11.7 tonnes in the 4 months to end October). Our assumption is that going forward, we would expect these countries, which seem intent on building their gold reserves, will continue to buy at a similar pace. For the record, according to the IMF figures, Kazakhstan is 23rd on the list of national gold holders with 216.3 tonnes, which accounts for 27.8% of its total official reserves.
The IMF figures should be taken as a guide as they relate to holdings as reported by the various countries and do not take account of gold holdings which may be temporarily reduced due to gold swaps and leasing (as the countries do not need to report these figures under the IMF guidance), or countries which may be under-reporting their gold holdings as many believe China to be.
Table 2. Changes to official reserves since July*
|Belarus||Purchases and swaps||+2.5||-3.0||-2.5|
|Kazakhstan||Purchases and swaps||+2.5||+2.1||+3.2||+2.9|
|Mexico||Additions to reserves and trading||-0.1||-0.2||-0.2||-0.1|
|Philippines||Buys locally produced gold; may sell or retain in reserves||+0.1|
|Russia||Mainly purchases of gold in the domestic market & other changes||+13.1||+29.6||+34.5||+18.4|
|Sri Lanka||Trading activity||-0.2|
|United Arab Emirates||+2.4||+0.1||+0.1|
*As in Table 1, IFS data are two months in arrears, so holdings are as of October 2015 for most countries, September 2015 or earlier for late reporters. We have added in China's latest Reserve upgrade for November.
3Gold has been added to Turkey's balance sheet as a result of the policy accepting gold in its reserve requirements from commercial banks.