Commodities & Metals

The 10 Nations That Own the Most Gold

2. Germany
> Tonnes: 3,381.0
> Pct. reserves: 68%
> GDP (rank): $3.62 trillion (5)

Germany has several issues to consider when it comes to gold holdings. First, Germany is the largest economy in Europe, and the euro itself is somewhat of a watered-down Deutsche mark. Germany recently committed to repatriating its foreign gold holdings held in other central banks around the world. Germany also has been a light seller of gold since 2000 under Europe’s Central Bank Gold Agreements, with its holdings down a few tonnes each year.

3. Italy
> Tonnes: 2,451.8
> Pct. reserves: 66%
> GDP (rank): $2.07 trillion (12)

It may seem odd to think of Italy as one of the world’s top gold holders, and its official gold tonnage would be just under that of the IMF. Being in the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) has not hurt its credit of late, even during the shakeup seen in Greece. Still, some leaders in Europe wanted Italy to sell some of its gold if things got too bad. Italy does not want to unload its gold, and its stock market is up about 75% from mid-2012.

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4. France
> Tonnes: 2,435.4
> Pct. reserves: 65%
> GDP (rank): $2.58 trillion (8)

The French economy still keeps the country from buying gold, and France had been a seller of gold before 2010 under the Central Bank Gold Agreements. Still, being the fourth largest nation in gold reserves sounds good when you consider its economy is now ranked eighth in the world. France is likely to have socioeconomic issues for years, and despite socialism trends, it has chosen higher taxes rather than selling gold in the past few years in an effort to pay for its social benefits.

5. China
> Tonnes: 1,658.1
> Pct. reserves: 2%
> GDP (rank): $17.63 trillion (1)

China recently was featured among the five nations still buying gold for their central banks. The Peoples Bank of China was a known gold buyer for years, but only recently has it showed by how much. China increased its gold reserves by over 50% since its last formal announcement back in 2009. At only 2% of foreign reserves, the World Gold Council and others expect that China can and likely will continue to increase its gold holdings. Even with a slowdown and devaluation, China’s holdings of gold quite simply remain too low for where it wants its reserve currency status to be in the years ahead — and China’s status as a reserve currency was recently put off.

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6. Russia
> Tonnes: 1,275.0
> Pct. reserves: 13%
> GDP (rank): $3.57 trillion (6)

Russia also was featured recently among the five nations still buying gold for their central banks. Russia keeps adding gold to its central bank holdings, a trend that was in place long before Ukraine and subsequent embargoes and sanctions were causing a recession. The difference here is that Russia may be adding it from actual domestic gold production rather than buying it on the international markets. Russia’s economic woes also have added pressure on Russia to keep buying gold to keep an underlying value under the ruble. The nation also wants to move away from the dollar and euro being used locally in the economy. Russia faces serious problems due to the collapse of oil prices as well.