Countries with the Largest Gold Reserves 2024

March 8, 2024

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While it can look pretty in a bracelet or ring, gold is much more valuable than just material for jewelry. Most countries keep significant gold reserves as a financial stabilizer. In times of economic uncertainty, gold can act as an extra level of security.

Gold reserves are the amount of gold held by a government or in a country’s central bank reserves. The gold is intended to support the national currency and as a physical store of value. These reserves usually serve as part of a country’s total national wealth and is an important asset in foreign wealth reserve.

We’ll look at which countries have the largest gold reserves, where they store the precious metals, and how much they’re worth.

1. United States – 8,113.46 tonnes

The United States has the world’s largest gold reserves, with over 8,000 tonnes. It’s nearly as much gold as Germany, Italy, and France (the next largest gold reserves) have combined. The Federal Reserve Bank (the central bank in the US) owns the country’s gold reserves.

Not only does the US have the world’s largest gold reserve, but it also produced 172.5 tonnes of gold in 2023, making it the world’s fifth-largest gold producer. Nevada produces the most gold in the US; in 2023, it accounted for approximately 70% of its annual output.

One of the main reasons the United States has such a large gold reserve is to protect the US dollar in case of an economic disaster. It would also badly affect the gold market if the US were to sell its large amount of gold.

Although it’s not the case now, the US currency has been tied to the value of gold for most of the country’s history. This meant the country had to keep large amounts of gold to maintain the ‘gold standard’, which meant the country’s currency was directly linked to the fixed quantity and value of gold.

2. Germany – 3,352.65 tonnes

Since 1951, the Bundesbank (Germany’s central bank) has been in charge of the country’s gold reserves. Germany has the second-largest reserve of gold after the US, which accounts for around two-thirds of the country’s foreign reserves.

Most of Germany’s gold reserves were accumulated between the 1950s and the 1970s, although most of the gold stayed in their original central banks. During this period, the country experienced massive economic growth and bought gold as an investment to ensure long-term economic certainty.

Although Germany still has the second-largest gold reserve in the world and Europe’s largest reserve, the country has seen a steady decrease in its reserves over the last two decades. In 2000, Germany had a total reserve of 3,468.60 tonnes, which had decreased to 3,400.95 tonnes by 2010.

3. Italy – 2,451.84 tonnes

Europe’s second-largest gold reserve is found in Italy. Approximately 4.1 tonnes is in the form of coins, and the remainder is in bars (which range from 4.2 to 19.7 kg each).

Much of Italy’s gold (around 1,199 tonnes) is stored in the vaults of the Palazzo Koch in Rome. The gold is owned by Banca d’Italia (Italy’s central bank) rather than the Italian State. Most of the remaining gold is stored in the Federal Reserve Bank’s gold vault in New York, while smaller reserves are stored in the Bank of England in London and the Swiss National Bank in Berne, Switzerland.

As with many other countries in Europe, Italy accumulated most of its gold in the 1950s and 1960s. Between 1958 and the end of the 1960s, Italy’s gold reserve had increased by around 600%.

4. France – 2,436.97 tonnes

Most of France’s gold reserve is stored in the underground vaults of La Souterraine in Paris. The vault measures 1,000 mΒ² and is buried 27 meters below the surface.

In recent years, France has been taking steps to ensure its gold meets LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) standards. One of these standards is that gold bars must contain at least 99.5% gold. Meeting the LBMA standards makes gold easier to trade internationally.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the French franc was the world’s only major currency still linked to gold. France’s gold reserves peaked at around 5,000 tonnes. However, by the 1950s, the US dollar became the main focus in the world of gold. It took another decade for the Banque de France’s reserve to increase again. France last sold some of its gold in 2009, and there are no proposed plans to increase or decrease the current reserves.

5. Russia – 2,332.74 tonnes

The country’s gold reserves are owned and managed by the Bank of Russia, which in turn is owned by the Russian Federation. Most of Russia’s gold reserves are stored in the underground Bank of Russia vaults in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Russia is also the world’s second-largest gold producer, with 324.7 tonnes produced in 2023. This accounted for 10% of the world’s gold production in that year. It was only behind China, which produced 375 tonnes in the same year.

Russia’s gold reserves reached a record low in 2000, with just 343.41 tonnes in the second quarter. The country’s current gold reserves are Russia’s record high.

6. China – 2,235.39 tonnes

China has been stockpiling its gold in recent years, likely in a bid to reduce its reliance on the US dollar. Between 2000 and 2023, China’s gold reserve averaged 1161.79 tonnes. However, by the third quarter of 2023, the country’s gold reserve had reached a record high of 2,191.53 tonnes.

It’s not known where China stores its massive gold reserve. However, it’s likely some of the reserves are stored in Beijing vaults. For one, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), which manages China’s official gold reserves, is headquartered in the city.

Although it only has the world’s sixth-largest gold reserve, China is the world’s largest gold producer. In 2023, the country produced 375 tonnes of gold. The country has over 3,300 gold mines that are run by around 400 companies.

7. Switzerland – 1,040 tonnes

The world’s seventh-largest gold reserve is found in Switzerland. The country is also one of the world’s leading exporters of gold. In 2022 alone, Switzerland exported gold worth over $100 billion. India, China, and the US were the three main destinations for this gold.

Most of the country’s gold is stored in the Swiss National Bank in Bern, while the remaining gold is stored in the Bank of England in London and the Bank of Canada in Ontario.

Controversially, the Nazis exchanged gold for Swiss francs in Switzerland during the Second World War, despite the country’s neutrality. Estimates suggest that around 90 tonnes of gold was laundered through Swiss banks by the Nazis, and just 3.6 tonnes was returned after the war ended. This gold made Switzerland one of the world’s wealthiest countries after the Second World War.

8. Japan – 845.97 tonnes

Japan has around $56 billion worth of gold, a rise from the $49.3 billion valuation in late 2022. The country’s gold reserve accounts for between 2% and 3% of its total foreign reserves.

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Japan halted its traditionally regular gold purchases and sold gold to stabilize the economy.

Most of Japan’s gold reserves are stored in the Bank of Japan (the country’s central bank) based in Tokyo.

9. India – 803.58 tonnes

Much of India’s gold reserves are stored in the Bank of England in London. The remaining gold is stored domestically in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank based in Mumbai.

India’s love of jewelry accounts for around one-third of global gold demand, while the country’s jewelry industry contributes 7% to India’s GDP (gross domestic product).

10. Netherlands – 612.45 tonnes

The tenth-largest reserve of the precious metal is in the Netherlands.

31% of the Netherlands’ gold is stored in the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), and a further 31% is kept in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The remaining reserve is split between the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada. The gold stored in the DNB vault weighs 200,000 kg and has a valuation of $11.11 billion. This includes 14,000 gold bars and a thousand crates of gold coins.

Data Sources:
Gold Reserves by Country: Word Gold Council

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