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A gold reserve is the gold held by a central bank or nation intended as a store of value and as a guarantee to redeem promises to pay depositors, note holders (e.g., paper money), or trading peers, or to secure a currency.

Today, gold reserves are almost exclusively, albeit rarely, used in the settlement of international transactions.

At the end of 2004, central banks and investment funds held 19% of all above-ground gold as bank reserve assets. About one percent of all above-ground gold (370 metric tonnes) was mined in the first five years of the California Gold Rush.

It has been estimated that all the gold mined up to 2006 totaled 158,000 tonnes. At a price of US$1000/oz., exceeded in 2008 and 2009, one tonne of gold has a value of approx. US$32.15 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$5 trillion at that valuation.

IMF gold holdings

As of June 2009, the International Monetary Fundmarker held 3,217 tonnes (103.4 million oz.) of gold, which had been constant for several years. In Fall 2009, the IMF announced that it will sell one eighth of its holdings, a maximum of 12,965,649 fine troy ounces (403.3 tonnes) based on a new income model agreed upon in April 2008, and subsequently announce the sale of 200 tonnes to India, 10 tonnes to Sri Lankamarker, and 2 tonnes to the Bank of Mauritius. These gold sales were conducted in stages at prevailing market prices.

The IMF maintains an internal book value of its gold that is far below market value. In 2000, this book value was SDR 35, or about US$47. An attempt to revalue the gold reserve to today's value has met resistance for different reasons. For example, Canadamarker is against the idea of revaluing the reserve, as it may be a prelude to selling the gold on the open market and therefore depressing gold prices.

Officially reported gold holdings

The International Monetary Fundmarker regularly maintains statistics of national assets as reported by various countries. This data is used by the World Gold Council to periodically rank and report the gold holding of countries, official organizations, and other private funds.

The following table reports the results, per 22 September 2005 and 14 December 2007, ranked by their 2005 holdings. Although the United States has the largest reserves of individual countries, in total the eurozone gold holdings are greater (11,065 tonnes as of December 2007). The eurozone numbers in the following table are a double count as they are also included under the individual countries. Additionally, the gold listed for each of the countries in the table may not be physically stored in the country listed, as central banks generally have not allowed independent audits of their reserves.

World official gold holding (November 2009)
Rank Country/Organization Gold
(tonnes)
Gold's share
of total
forex reserves (%)

1 United States 8,133.5 77.4%
2 Germanymarker 3,408.3 69.2%
3 International Monetary Fundmarker 3,005.3 -
4 Italymarker 2,451.8 66.6%
5 Francemarker 2,445.1 70.6%
6 China 1,054.0 1.9%
7 Switzerland 1,040.1 29.1%
8 Japanmarker 765.2 2.3%
9 Netherlandsmarker 612.5 59.6%
10 Russia 568.4 4.3%
11 Indiamarker 557.7 6%
12 European Central Bankmarker 501.4 18.8%
13 Taiwan 423.6 3.9%
14 Spainmarker 416.8 42.5%
15 Portugal 382.5 90.2%
16 Venezuelamarker 363.9 35.5%
17 United Kingdommarker 310.3 18.7%
18 Lebanonmarker 286.8 30.0%
19 Austriamarker 280.0 50.5%
20 Belgium 227.5 42.5%
21 Algeriamarker 173.6 3.6%
22 Philippinesmarker 153.9 12.3%
23 Libyamarker 143.8 4.5%
24 Saudi Arabiamarker 143.0 12.4%
25 Swedenmarker 135.9 14.2%
26 Singaporemarker 127.4 2.2%
27 Bank for International Settlementsmarker 125.0 -
28 South Africa 124.7 11.0%
29 Turkeymarker 116.1 4.7%
30 Greece 112.5 92.8%
31 Romaniamarker 103.7 8.4%
32 Polandmarker 102.9 5.0%
33 Thailandmarker 87.4 2.2%
34 Australia 79.8 7.3%
35 Kuwaitmarker 79.0 11.9%
36 Egyptmarker 75.6 6.4%
37 Indonesiamarker 73.1 4.3%
38 Kazakhstanmarker 72.0 11.6%
39 Denmarkmarker 66.5 4.7%
40 Pakistanmarker 65.4 20.3%
41 Argentinamarker 54.7 3.4%
42 Finlandmarker 49.1 17.6%
43 Bulgariamarker 39.9 7.6%
44 West African Economic and Monetary Union 36.5 11.8%
45 Malaysiamarker 36.4 1.2%
46 Slovakia 35.1 81.6%
47 Perumarker 34.7 3.3%
48 Brazilmarker 33.6 0.5%
49 Boliviamarker 28.3 10.3%
50 Ecuadormarker 26.3 11.6%
51 Ukrainemarker 26.2 2.0%
52 Syriamarker 25.9 -
53 Moroccomarker 22.0 2.2%
54 Nigeriamarker 21.4 0.9%
55 Belarusmarker 20.3 11.6%
56 Sri Lankamarker 15.3 3.8%
57 Jordanmarker 14.8 5.2%
58 South Koreamarker 14.3 0.1%
59 Cyprusmarker 13.9 29.7%
60 Czech Republicmarker 13.2 0.9%
61 Netherlands Antillesmarker 13.1 31.4%
62 Cambodiamarker 12.4 12.9%
63 Qatarmarker 12.4 2.6%
64 Serbia 12.2 2.3%
65 Laosmarker 8.1 23.1%
66 Latviamarker 7.7 3.3%
67 El Salvadormarker 7.3 8.2%
68 Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa 7.1 -
69 Guatemalamarker 6.9 3.9%
70 Colombiamarker 6.9 0.8%
71 Macedoniamarker 6.8 7.6%
72 Tunisiamarker 6.8 2.1%
73 Lithuaniamarker 5.8 2.3%
74 Irelandmarker 5.5 16.3%
75 Mongoliamarker 5.2 10.9%
76 Bahrainmarker 4.7 -
77 Mauritiusmarker 3.9 2.4%
78 Bangladeshmarker 3.5 1.6%
79 Mexicomarker 3.4 0.1%
80 Canadamarker 3.4 0.2%
81 Sloveniamarker 3.2 7.2%
82 Arubamarker 3.1 17.1%
83 Hungarymarker 3.1 0.3%
84 Mozambiquemarker 3.0 4.6%
85 Kyrgyzstanmarker 2.6 5.3%
86 Luxembourgmarker 2.3 10.8%
87 Albaniamarker 2.2 2.6%
88 Hong Kongmarker 2.1 0.0%
89 Icelandmarker 2.0 1.9%
90 Tajikistanmarker 2.0 -
91 Papua New Guineamarker 2.0 2.1%
92 Trinidad and Tobagomarker 1.9 0.6%
93 Yemenmarker 1.6 0.5%
94 Surinamemarker 1.4 7.0%
95 Cameroonmarker 0.9 -
96 Hondurasmarker 0.7 0.7%
97 Paraguaymarker 0.7 0.6%
98 Dominican Republicmarker 0.6 0.7%
99 Gabonmarker 0.4 -
100 Republic of the Congomarker 0.3 -
101 Chadmarker 0.3 -
102 Central African Republicmarker 0.3 -
103 Uruguaymarker 0.3 0.1%
104 Estoniamarker 0.2 0.1%
105 Chilemarker 0.2 0.0%
106 Maltamarker 0.2 0.8%
107 Costa Ricamarker 0.1 0.0%


Privately held gold

As of October 2009, gold exchange-traded funds held 1,750 tonnes of gold for private and institutional investors.

Gold Holdings Corp. a publicly listed gold company estimates that the amount of in-ground verified gold resources currently controlled by publicly traded gold companies is roughly 50,000 tonnes.

Privately held gold
Rank Country/Organization Gold
(tonnes)
Gold's share
of total
forex reserves (%)

1 SPDR Gold Trust 1,104 -
2 iShares Gold Trust 66.9 -
3 Central Fund of Canada 30.2 -
4 BullionVault (storage) 18.0 -


See also



Notes



References


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