Gold is not only a precious metal but also has many industrial uses. It is a common component of electronics, dentistry equipment, spacecraft and jet aircraft engines.
The United States boasts the largest official gold reserves with 8,133.5 metric tons. The Federal Reserve keeps much of its bullion in deep storage at Fort Knox, Denver and West Point.
As the world’s largest gold producer, China is likely to be a major player in the future. However, the country’s official reserves only account for a small percentage of its overall foreign-exchange assets.
Industry insiders suspect that the PBoC has covertly acquired a great deal of gold outside of official statistics. For instance, the Netherlands’ DNB sold 400 tonnes of its gold in 1992 and many believe that a large part of this went to the PBoC.
The PBoC has started to share monthly details of its gold purchasing activities since mid-2015. In January, it reported another reserve rise to 2,025t.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has confirmed the discovery of large amounts of gold in northern India. It has notified mining firms to start exploration for the precious metal.
A country with significant gold reserves can boost its currency by increasing its value against the dollar. It is also an important currency hedge in times of hyperinflation.
The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has ‘completely disowned’ media reports that it has found 222.8 million tonnes of gold reserves in Bihar’s Jamui district. The GSI says that it did not conduct any exploration for the purpose of estimating gold.
When most countries abandoned parity between their currency and gold in the 1970s, Switzerland clung to it. The nation is still a major producer of the precious metal and has one of the largest refining capacities in the world.
Swiss citizens also hold 920 tonnes in private gold reserves. This is in addition to 1,040 tonnes of official reserves at the SNB.
Last year, the SNB shipped 34 tons of LBMA-approved bullion to Turkiye, an acceleration in the pace of annual exports. However, the country’s gold reserves are under pressure as a result of political instability in Turkey.
Unlike the other gold-producing countries on this list, Taiwan’s reserves are held by the central bank. The country’s current total of 465 metric tons accounts for 5.9 percent of its foreign currency reserves.
The island’s golden history dates back to 1890 when workers building a railway discovered gold deposits in the Keelung River, prompting a gold rush and substantial mining. Today, Jinguashi (New Taipei City) hosts a gold museum where you can try your hand at panning and visit a stretch of the Benshan Tunnel where gold miners toiled between 1897 and 1972.
Like Switzerland, the Netherlands holds a large portion of its reserves in gold. It also keeps a significant amount in the United States.
The Dutch central bank (DNB) has recently moved 122.5 tonnes of its New York held gold to Amsterdam. Prior to that move, the DNB still kept 31% of its monetary gold in New York, 28% in Ottawa, and 18% in London.
Overall, global central banks own about one-fifth of the world’s total gold bullion. Most of that was acquired in the last decade when many central banks became net buyers of the metal.
Nations store gold for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most noteworthy is that the precious metal doesn’t carry counterparty risk like stocks and bonds do. It also helps diversify a country’s wealth reserves. As a result, many countries have amassed mighty hoards of the yellow metal.
In 2021, the top ten central banks added 45.7 tonnes to their stockpiles, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). This surge in buying coincided with the advent of unconventional monetary policies such as massive bond-buying schemes, rapid money printing and near-zero or negative interest rates.
Gold is a popular choice for central banks and governments because it doesn’t carry the same counterparty risk as currencies or bonds. It can also help diversify a nation’s wealth reserves.
With the largest official holdings of gold, the U.S. comes in first place on this list with 8,133.5 metric tons. The bullion is stored in Fort Knox, Denver, and West Point as well as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In the heart of downtown Manhattan, the Fed stores its gold in a special vault that is built into the bedrock. It’s even more impressive than the gold vault in Paris where every bar is uniquely numbered, according to Atlas Obscura.