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Central bank gold purchases are expected to increase in 2022.
Chart via WGC.
Central banks are expected to continue to be net buyers of gold in 2022. Twenty-five percent of respondents to the WGC 2022 survey indicated that they plan to increase their gold reserves, compared to 21% the last year. And for the second year in a row, no respondent indicated that their institution planned to reduce its gold holdings.
However, the WGC noted that economic and geopolitical uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine could create a “gap between central bank respondents in advanced economies and those in emerging and emerging markets.” developed economies”.
Read on to find out the top 10 countries by central bank gold holdings. All reserve counts were compiled using WGC data.
1. United States
As for the largest gold reserves, the Central Bank of America comes out on top with 8,133.5 MT. Valued at US$528 billion, a significant percentage of US gold is stored in “deep storage” in Denver, Fort Knox and West Point.
As the U.S. Treasury explains, deep storage is “the portion of the U.S. government’s reserve of gold bullion that the Mint secures in sealed vaults that are reviewed annually by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury and consists primarily of gold bullion”.
The rest of the reserves held by the United States are held as working stock, which is described as the “reserve of gold that the Mint uses as raw material to mint coins authorized by Congress and consists of bullion, blanks, unsold parts and condemned parts”.
The Bundesbank, the German central bank, currently holds 3,358.5 MT of gold, less than half the amount amassed by the United States. Like many central banks on this list, the German national bank stores more than half of its stock overseas in New York, London and France.
The Bundesbank’s foreign gold reserves came into question in 2012, when Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors, the Bundesrechnungshof, openly criticized the Bundesbank’s gold audit.
In response, the German bank issued a public statement defending the safety of foreign banks. Privately, the Bundesbank then began the difficult process of repatriating its stock of gold to German soil. In 2016, more than 583 tonnes were sent back to Germany.
Nearly half of Germany’s gold holdings are stored in Frankfurt, more than a third in New York, an eighth of the holdings are in London and a tiny amount is held in Paris.
Banca d’Italia, Italy’s national bank, began hoarding its gold in 1893, when three separate financial institutes merged into one. From there, its 78 MT slowly increased to the 2,451.84 MT the country now has.
Like Germany, Italy also stores part of its reserves abroad. A total of 141.2 MT are located in the UK, 149.3 are in Switzerland and 1,061 are kept in the US Federal Reserve.
Italy is home to 1,100 MT in the domestic market.
The Banque de France retains all of its 2,436.5 MT of gold reserves. The precious metal is stored in the bank’s secure underground vault, called La Souterraine; it is located 27 meters below street level.
The La Souterraine Gold Chests are one of 4 gold deposits designated by the International Monetary Fund.
According to Investopedia, the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard system was partly due to former French President Charles de Gaulle when he “called the United States into a bluff and began trading dollars for gold from the Fort Knox reserves”. At the time, US President Richard Nixon “was forced to remove the United States from the gold standard, ending the automatic convertibility of the dollar into gold.”
The Bank of Russia is the official central bank of the Russian Federation and holds 2,301.64 MT of gold. Like France, Russia’s central bank chose to store all of its physical gold domestically.
The Bank of Russia stores two-thirds of its gold reserves in a bank building in Moscow and the remaining third in St. Petersburg.
The majority of the yellow metal comes in the form of large standard gold bars of varying weight weighing between 10 and 14 kilograms. There are also smaller bars on site weighing up to 1 kilogram each.
Russia, which is the third largest producer of gold by country, has been a regular buyer of the precious metal since around 2007, with sales increasing significantly between 2015 and the start of 2020. However, Russian refineries are not allowed to sell gold bullion in London. market following the invasion of Ukraine by that country. Western sanctions also include freezing about half of Russia’s gold reserves.
Mainland China’s central bank is the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), located in Beijing. The national financial institute stores 1,948.31 MT of gold, most of it purchased since 2000. In 2001, the PBoC had 400 MT of gold in reserve, but in less than two decades that total has soared by 487%.
The PBoC also issues the Panda gold coin, which was first created in 1982. The Panda coin is now one of the top five bullion coins issued by a central bank. It is part of the ranks of the American Eagle, the Canadian Maple Leaf, the South African Krugerrand and the Australian Gold Nugget.
The Swiss National Bank holds the seventh largest central bank gold reserve. Its 1,040 MT of gold belongs to the Swiss state, but the central bank manages and maintains the reserve.
After years of opacity regarding the country’s gold hoard, the Swiss Gold Initiative, or Save our Swiss Gold, campaign was launched in 2011.
The ad culminated in a nationwide referendum in 2014, asking citizens to vote on three proposals.
The first was a mandate for all reserve gold to be physically held in Switzerland. The other two concerned the central bank’s ability to sell its gold reserves, as well as a decree that 20% of the Swiss bank’s assets had to be held in gold.
The referendum failed, but prompted the bank to be more transparent. In a 2013 statement, the central bank said 70% of its gold reserve was held domestically, 20% was located at the Bank of England and 10% was stored at the Bank of Canada.
Public information on the Bank of Japan’s gold reserves is difficult to obtain. In 2000, the island nation held around 753 MT of the yellow metal. By 2004, the Bank of Japan’s gold store had risen to 765.2 MT and remained at that level until March 2021, when the country purchased 80.76 MT of gold.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is another central bank on the list that has increased its holdings in recent years. The RBI started increasing its gold assets in 2017; however, the majority of his purchases have been in the past two years.
“While 453.52 tonnes of gold is held offshore in safekeeping with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS),” Business Standard reported, “295.82 tonnes of gold are held at the national level”.
The Dutch National Bank (DNB), the central bank of the Netherlands, supplements the main central bank gold reserves by country.
Like Switzerland, the Dutch central bank stores up to 38% of its gold in Canada’s national reserve. A further 31%, in the form of 15,000 gold bars, is held in a national vault, while the remaining 31% is located at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In a report, the Dutch National Bank notes that gold’s risk aversion and reduced liability make it the ultimate safe-haven asset.
“Central banks such as the DNB therefore traditionally have a lot of gold in stock. After all, gold is the ultimate nest egg: the anchor of confidence for the financial system. “If the whole system collapses, the gold supply provides a guarantee to start over. Gold gives confidence in the strength of the central bank’s balance sheet. It gives a sense of security.
*11. International Monetary Fund
The gold reserve held by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the third largest. The large gold reserve was amassed primarily when the international organization was founded in 1944.
In that inaugural year, it was decided that “25% of initial quota subscriptions and subsequent quota increases were to be paid for in gold”.
Since 1944, the IMF has also added gold through the repayment of debts owed by member countries. Nations can also exchange gold for the currency of another member country.
This is an updated version of an article first published by Investing News Network in 2020.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, have no direct investment interests in any of the companies mentioned in this article.