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World’s Biggest Gold Reserves
With the price of gold reaching an all-time high of $1042 per ounce, we decided to take a look at the countries with the most of this precious metal.
Central bank and government holdings are believed to account for about 20.5 percent of the world’s gold, at approximately 29,634 tons. But the question remains: which individual countries have the most?
Gold Reserve Value: $13.07 billion
Banco Central de Venezuela manages the 392 tons of gold in the country’s reserves, which amount to approximately $13.07 billion and represent 36.1 percent of Venezuela’s foreign reserves. Although Venezuela currently has the fifteenth largest reserve on the list, president Hugo Chavez announced in June 2009 that his government has introduced new policies to promote gold extraction and boost its ranking.
Gold Reserve Value: $13.12 billion
The second most populous nation in the world has the fourteenth largest reserve on this list. The Reserve Bank of India oversees the country’s 393.5 tons of gold, which are valued at $13.12 billion and comprise 4.0% of its foreign reserves. India’s current ranking may change, however, as the government has asked the Geological Survey of India to mine the previously untapped gold reserves in many of its states.
Gold Reserve Value: $14.03 billion
The westernmost nation in mainland Europe is home to the thirteenth largest gold reserve in the world. At 420.8 tons, Portugal’s holdings are overseen by Banco de Portugal and are worth roughly $14.03 billion, accounting for 90.9 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Gold Reserve Value: $15.53 billion
Renowned for its technology industry and robust economic growth, Taiwan also boasts the twelfth largest gold reserve in the world. The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) manages the island nation’s foreign reserves, which have been reported at 466 tons. These holdings are worth $15.53 billion and comprise 3.9 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
11. European Central Bank (ECB)
Gold Reserve Value: $18.39 billion
Established in 1998 by the European Union, the European Central Bank (left) is responsible for the monetary policy of the member nations of the Eurozone and is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. The 551.5 tons of gold accounts for 18.8 percent of the ECB’s foreign reserves and would be worth $18.39 billion in the open market.
Gold Reserve Value: $20.85 billion
Russia has the tenth largest reserve on the list. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is in charge of the country’s 625.2 tons of gold, which are valued at $20.85 billion and comprise 4.3% of the country’s foreign reserves. In the first seven months of 2009 Russia increased its gold production by 21%, due in part to the launch of several new mines.
Gold Reserve Value: $22.47 billion
The Netherlands has the ninth largest reserve on the list with 673.8 tons of gold. The Netherland Bank manages the country’s national finances, including the gold reserves, which amount to approximately $22.47 billion in the current market and account for 59.6 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Gold Reserve Value: $28.07 billion
Although Japan is eighth on the list, its 841.7 tons of gold account for only 2.3 percent of total foreign reserves. On the open market, Japan’s gold reserves are worth around $28.07 billion, and are overseen by the Bank of Japan (left).
Gold Reserve Value: $38.15 billion
The Swiss National Bank (left) conducts Switzerland’s monetary policy and manages the country’s 1,144.1 tons of gold. With the world’s seventh largest reserve of the precious metal, Switzerland’s supply is worth approximately $38.15 billion in today’s gold market, accounting for 29.1 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Gold Reserve Value: $38.65 billion
At 1159.4 tons, the world’s most heavily populated country has the world’s sixth largest gold reserve. Expect it to be higher? Well, bear in mind that China’s gold only accounts for 1.9 percent of its foreign reserves. With a population of 1.3 billion, the country holds about $29.74 worth of gold per person, totaling $38.65 billion.
Gold Reserve Value: $89.68 billion
The French National Bank, Banque De France (left), is home to the country’s large gold holdings, which comprise 70.6 percent of its foreign reserves. With 2689.6 tons of gold in reserve, France’s holdings are worth approximately $89.68 billion.
Gold Reserve Value: $89.92 billion
The Banca D’Italia (left) manages Italy’s foreign reserves, which have been reported at 2697 tons by the World Gold Council and comprise the fourth largest gold reserve in the world. These holdings are worth $89.92 billion and account for 66.6 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
3. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Gold Reserve Value: $118 billion
The IMF (left) oversees international economic operations of 185 member countries. Its gold policies have changed in the last 25 years, but the reserves remain to stabilize international markets and aid national economies. In one such instance, it sold a portion of its reserves in December 1999 to aid the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The 3539 tons of IMF Gold would fetch roughly $118 billion in today’s market.
Gold Reserve Value: $125.01 billion
The Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, has 3749.1 tons of gold reserves, which are valued at about $125.01 billion. According to the World Gold Council, Germany’s gold coffers account for 69.2 percent of total foreign reserves.
1. United States
Gold Reserve Value: $298.36 billion
The United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky — otherwise known as Fort Knox (left) — is the most famous gold stockpile in the world. It holds the majority of the nation’s gold reserves, the remainder of which is held at the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository and the San Francisco Assay Office. Altogether, the total gold reserves of the United States equal 8946.9 tons and are valued at approximately $298.36 billion.
Data is based on the World Gold Council’s September 2009 report and is converted to US short tons at a rate of 1 T = 1.102311 US tons. All monetary estimates are calculated at the rate of 1oz gold = $1042 US