Central banks and finance ministries currently hold more than 33,000 tons of gold worth about $1.4 trillion, at today’s prices. These authorities are among the world’s largest holders of gold.
While the United States, like in many economic and financial measures, leads the pack with the most gold of any nation, at more than 8,100 tons of the precious metal, other countries with the most gold may be less obvious.
In addition to holding its own gold, nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been repositories for other nations’ gold. That is not surprising given America’s position as a secure bastion after World War II and the Bank of England’s reputation for security.
In recent years, however, nations such as the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Belgium have begun repatriating their sovereign gold. Part of the reason is the changing monetary policy of central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Of the top 20 gold-holding nations, five have added to their stores of the precious metal over the last 10 years — Turkey, Kazakhstan, India, China, and Russia. They are doing so as a way to diversify their reserves away from dollar-denominated securities. Germany and France have reduced their gold inventory, while the remaining countries on the top 20 list have left their reserve total virtually unchanged.
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the countries that control the world’s gold. Many nations on this list rank among the wealthiest countries in the world. We reviewed data from the World Gold Council, as well as mining and engineering websites, national mint sources, and media reports about stories pertaining to gold. 24/7 Wall St. also considered information from the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks accountability, transparency and efficiency in financial markets around the world.