The United States has the largest gold reserve in the world by a considerable margin, with more than 8,100 tons. The government has almost as many reserves as the next three countries with the largest gold reserves combined (Germany, Italy and France). The top 10 central banks with the largest gold reserves have remained largely unchanged over the past few years. The United States is in first place with more than 8,000 tons of gold in its vaults — almost as much as the next three countries combined — and represents 79% of total reserves.
The only countries where gold represents a higher percentage of reserves are Portugal, with 80.1%, and Venezuela, with 82.4%. Not surprisingly, the Bank of India has one of the largest gold reserves in the world. The South Asian country, home to 1.25 billion people, is the second largest consumer of precious metals and is one of the most reliable drivers of global demand. .
In seventh place is Switzerland, which actually has the largest per capita gold reserves in the world. During World War II, the neutral country became the center of the gold trade in Europe, making transactions with both the Allies and the Axis powers. Nowadays, much of its gold trade is done with Hong Kong and China. France's central bank has sold little of its gold in recent years.
The current reserves consist of 100 tons of gold coins and the rest of ingots weighing about 12.5 kilograms each. The vaults of the Bank of France in Paris are one of the four designated custodians of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It's no wonder that the Bank of India has one of the largest gold reserves in the world. Gold has been used as a currency since ancient times, which eventually led to the establishment of the gold standard.
Gold reserves are a useful tool for governments, which can purchase large quantities of gold to counter rising inflation. Those looking for a safe place to store their gold tend to choose Singapore because the country has not been marred by any major corruption scandal, crime is low and so are taxes, and the costs of storing gold are incredibly competitive. Unlike most countries, where gold reserves are owned by the state and managed by its central banks, Italy's gold is actually owned by the Banca d'Italia and is located in vaults in Rome and in the National Bank of Switzerland, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Bank of England. This means that a country that exports gold and has a surplus of gold reserves can often see an increase in the strength of its currency.
Sweden is not an obvious choice as a major player in the gold market, but this Scandinavian country actually has 125.72 tons of gold ingots. Widely used in the 19th and 20th centuries, the gold standard was a monetary system in which countries ensured the value of their paper money and coins by keeping under lock and key equivalent values of real gold. Sanctions have expelled the Russian Federation from the global gold trade: London has banned all ingots in Russian refineries and the United States Senate prohibits citizens from making any transactions involving Russian gold. The Netherlands is ranked number 10 in the gold reserve ranking, with 612.45 tons of gold in its stocks.
Although there are no active gold mines in the United Kingdom, it has long been considered the center of the wholesale gold market and a major importer and exporter of this metal. The move was not surprising, as the World Gold Council anticipated that central banks would be net buyers of gold following the excellent performance of the precious metal during the COVID-19 pandemic. .