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The World's Biggest Gold Reserves

Who Has the Most Gold?

With the price of gold reaching an all-time high of $1246 per ounce, in these uncertain times the market has been moving dramatically towards this traditional safe haven.  The biggest individual holders of gold - Central banks, International entities and governments - are believed to account for approximately 20.5 percent of the world's gold, holding about 29,787 tons. The numbers are taken from the monthly report produced by the , which the gold industry's key market development body. So which
Photo: Gazimal | Getty ImagesNote: Gold holdings are converted to US short tons at a rate of 1 T = 1.102311 US tons. All monetary estimates are calculated at the rate of 1 troy ounce of gold = US$1,600. The CME lists gold contracts in troy ounces.

The price of goldhovered around $1,600 per ounce at the end of of 2011, rising over 15% in 2011, following uncertainty in the equity markets and the global economy as a whole.

The biggest individual holders of gold—central banks, international organizations and governments—are believed to account for approximately 16.5 percent of the world's gold, holding about 30,700 tons.

The numbers are taken from the monthly report produced by the World Gold Council,which is the gold industry's key market development body. The holdings presented here are as of WGC's December 2011 report, unless otherwise noted.

So, who holds the most gold? Click ahead to find out!

By Paul Toscano
Updated 4 Jan 2012

15. Portugal

Value of Reserves: $16.86 billionHoldings Total: 421.51 tonsThe westernmost nation in mainland Europe is home to the fourteenth largest gold reserve in the world. At 421.5 tons, Portugal’s holdings are overseen by Banco de Portugal and are worth roughly $16.86 billion, accounting for 84.9 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $19.7 billion
Holdings total: 421.6 tons

The westernmost nation in mainland Europe is home to the 15th largest gold reserve in the world. At 421.6 tons, Portugal’s holdings are overseen by Banco de Portugal and are valued at roughly $19.7 billion, accounting for 89.2 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.

14. Taiwan

Value of Reserves: $18.67 billionHoldings Total: 466.81 tonsRenowned for its technology industry and robust economic growth, Taiwan also boasts the twelfth largest gold reserve in the world. The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) manages the island nation’s foreign reserves, which have been reported at 466.81 tons. These holdings are worth $18.67 billion at today's prices and comprise approximately 4.1 percent of the country's foreign reserves.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $21.7 billion
Holdings total: 465.6 tons

Renowned for its technology industry and robust economic growth, Taiwan also boasts one of the largest gold reserves in the world.

The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) manages the island nation’s foreign reserves, which are reported at 465.6 tons. These holdings are worth $21.7 billion at today's prices and comprise approximately 5.9 percent of the country's foreign reserves.

13. The European Central Bank

Value of Reserves: $22.1 billionHoldings Total: 522.54 tonsEstablished in 1998 by the European Union, the European Central Bank is responsible for the monetary policy of the member nations of the Eurozone and is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. The 522.54 tons of gold accounts for 25.2 percent of the ECB's foreign reserves and would be worth $22.1 billion in today's market.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $25.8 billion
Holdings total: 553.4 tons

Established in 1998 by the European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary policy of the member nations of the euro zone and is headquartered in Frankfurt.

The ECB's 553.3 tons of gold accounts for 35 percent of the bank's foreign reserves and would be worth $25.8 billion in today's market.

12. India

Value of Reserves: $22.1 billionHoldings Total: 522.54 tonsShooting up in the rankings in the past year is India. The second most populous nation in the world maintains the eleventh largest gold reserves. The size of India's holdings were bolstered in November 2009 by a $6.9 billion purchase of 200 tons of gold from the IMF.The Reserve Bank of India oversees the country’s 522.5 tons of gold, which are valued at $22.1 billion, comprising 6.9% of its foreign reserves. India’s current ranking may a
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: Deepak Gupta

Value of reserves: $28.69 billion
Holdings total: 614.75 tons

Shooting up in the rankings in the past few years is India. The second most populous nation in the world maintains the 12th largest gold reserves. The size of India's holdings were bolstered in November 2009 by a $6.9 billion purchase of 200 tons of gold from the International Monetary Fund.

The Reserve Bank of India currently oversees the country’s 614.75 tons of gold, which are valued at $28.69 billion, comprising 9.6% of its foreign reserves. India’s current ranking may also continue to move upwards, as the government has asked the Geological Survey of India to mine previously untapped gold reserves in many of its states.

11. The Netherlands

Value of Reserves: $26.9 billionHoldings Total: 674.98 tonsThe Netherlands has the tenth largest reserve on the list with 674.98 tons of gold. The Netherland Bank manages the country’s national finances, including the gold reserves, which amount to approximately $26.9 billion in the current market and account for 53.4 percent of the country's foreign reserves.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: Archibald Ballantine

Value of reserves: $31.5 billion
Holdings total: 675.2 tons

The Netherlands has the 11th largest reserve on the list, with 675.2 tons of gold. De Nederlandsche Bank manages the country’s national finances, including the gold reserves, which amount to approximately $31.5 billion and account for 61.9 percent of the country's foreign reserves.

10. Japan

Value of Reserves: $33.73 billionHoldings Total: 843.25 tonsAlthough Japan is eighth on the list, its 843.25 tons of gold account for only 2.5 percent of total foreign reserves. On the open market, Japan's gold reserves are worth around $33.73 billion, and are overseen by the Bank of Japan.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $39.36 billion
Holdings total: 843.5 tons

Although Japan is ninth on the list, its 843.5 tons of gold account for only 3.5 percent of total foreign reserves. On the open market, Japan's gold reserves would be worth around $39.36 billion, and are overseen by the Bank of Japan.

9. Russia

Value of Reserves: $28.26 billionHoldings Total: 706.38 tonsThe Central Bank of the Russian Federation is in charge of the country’s 706.38 tons of gold, which are valued at $28.26 billion and comprise 5.1% of the country’s foreign reserves. In 2009 Russia increased its gold production by 21%, due in part to the launch of several new mines.
Source: IMF, World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $44.8 billion
Holdings total: 960.1 tons

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is in charge of the country’s 960.1 tons of gold, which are valued at $44.8 billion and comprise 9.2 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.

In 2009, Russia increased its gold production by 21 percent, due in part to the launch of several new mines. In 2010, the country overtook Japan in total holdings, adding more than 140 tons to its stockpile in that year alone. Russia's buying of gold continued in 2011, purchasing 4.9 tons in July, according to the IMF's August report.

8. Switzerland

Value of Reserves: $45.84 billionHoldings Total: 1,146 tonsThe Swiss National Bank conducts Switzerland's monetary policy and manages the country's 1,144.1 tons of gold. With the world's seventh largest reserve of the precious metal, Switzerland's supply is worth approximately $45.84 billion in today's gold market, accounting for 27.1 percent of the country's foreign reserves.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $53.5 billion
Holdings total: 1,146.5 tons

The Swiss National Bank conducts Switzerland's monetary policy and manages the country's 1,146.5 tons of gold.

With the world's eighth largest reserve of the precious metal, Switzerland's supply is worth approximately $53.5 billion in today's gold market. It accounts for 15.8 percent of the country's foreign reserves, though this proportion has dropped in the past year.

7. China

Value of Reserves: $46.46 billionHoldings Total: 1,161.6 tonsAt 1161.6 tons, the world's most heavily populated country has the world's sixth largest gold reserve. Expect it to be higher? Well, bear in mind that China's gold only accounts for 1.6 percent of its foreign reserves. With a population of 1.34 billion, the country holds about $34.70 worth of gold per person, totaling $46.46 billion.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $54.22 billion
Holdings total: 1,161.9 tons

At 1,161.9 tons, the world's most populated country has the world's seventh largest gold reserve. Expect it to be higher on the list? Well, bear in mind that China's gold only accounts for 1.8 percent of its foreign reserves. With a population of 1.34 billion, the country holds about $40.46 worth of gold per person, totaling $54.22 billion.

6. SPDR Gold ETF (GLD)

SS_world_gold_holdings_2011_SPDR.jpg
Value of holdings: $70.7 billion Holdings total: 1,213.9 tons Unlike other major gold holdings, this is one that investors can actually buy in to. As the price of gold fluctuates, so does the value of the GLD, which held 38,845,889 ounces, or 1,213.9 tons of gold as of the ETF’s 10-Q filing on June 30, 2011. Although gold is off it’s all time highs, during the week of August 22, 2011, the heavily-traded S&P 500 SPDR (SPY) for the first time. Like many investors, the ETF has indicated they have s
Photo: Getty Images || Source: SPDR Gold Trust Prospectus, State Street Global Advisors as of June 30, 2011 | Calculations by CNBC

Value of holdings: $64.53 billion
Holdings total: 1,213.9 tons

Unlike other major gold holdings, this is one that investors can actually buy in to. As the price of gold fluctuates, so does the value of SPDR Gold Trust, also known the GLD.The fund held 38,845,889 ounces, or 1,213.9 tons of gold as of its 10-Q filing on June 30, 2011.

Although gold is off it’s all time highs, during the week of August 22, 2011, the SPDR Gold Trust surpassedthe heavily-traded S&P 500 SPDR (SPY) for the first time. Like many investors, the ETF has indicated they have increased their holdings of goldsince their most recent filing.

Pictured: Gold bars are displayed at the GLD Fifth Anniversary Celebration Hosted By SPDR Gold Shares in New York

5. France

Value of Reserves: $107.35 billionHoldings Total: 2,683.81 tonsThe French National Bank, Banque De France, is home to the country's gold holdings, which comprise 65.7 percent of its foreign reserves. With 2,683.81 tons of gold in reserve, France's holdings are worth approximately $107.35 billion.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: AP

Value of reserves: $125.28 billion
Holdings total: 2,684.6 tons

The French National Bank, Banque De France, is home to the country's gold holdings, which comprise 71.8 percent of its foreign reserves. With 2,684.6 tons of gold in reserve, France's holdings are worth approximately $125.28 billion.

4. Italy

Value of Reserves: $108.07 billionHoldings Total: 2,701.9 tonsThe Banca D'Italia manages Italy's foreign reserves, which have been reported at 2,701.9 tons by the World Gold Council and comprise the fourth largest gold reserve in the world. These holdings are worth $108.07 billion and account for 64.9 percent of the country's foreign reserves.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: Francesco Gasparetti

Value of reserves: $126.12 billion
Holdings total: 2,702.6 tons

The Banca D'Italia manages Italy's foreign reserves, which have been reported at 2,702.6 tons by the World Gold Council and comprise the fourth largest gold reserve in the world.

These holdings are worth $126.12 billion in the open market and account for 73.4 percent of the country's foreign reserves.

3. The International Monetary Fund

Value of Reserves: $132.4 billionHoldings Total: 3311.84 tons The IMF oversees international economic operations of 185 member countries. Its gold policies have changed in the last 25 years, but the reserves remain to stabilize international markets and aid national economies. In one such instance, it sold a portion of its reserves in December 1999 to aid the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The 3311.84 tons of IMF Gold would fetch roughly $132.4 billion in today's market.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: Tim Sloan | AFP | Getty Images

Value of reserves: $144.76 billion
Holdings total: 3,101 tons

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) oversees international economic operations of 185 member countries. Its gold policies have changed in the last 25 years, but the reserves remain to stabilize international markets and aid national economies.

In one such instance, the IMF sold a portion of its reserves in December 1999 to aid the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The 3,101 tons of IMF Gold would fetch roughly $144.76 billion in the open market.

2. Germany

Value of Reserves: $150.17 billionHoldings Total: 3754.29 tons The Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, has 3754.29 tons of gold reserves, which are valued at about $150.17 billion. According to the World Gold Council, Germany’s gold coffers account for 66.1 percent of total foreign reserves.
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: Martin

Value of reserves: $174.7 billion
Holdings total: 3,743.7 tons

The Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, has 3,743.7 tons of gold reserves, which are valued at about $174.7 billion. According to the World Gold Council, Germany’s gold coffers account for 73.7 percent of total foreign reserves.

1. United States

Value of Reserves: $358.63 billionHoldings Total: 8,965.65 tons The United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky --- otherwise known as Fort Knox --- is the most famous gold stockpile in the world. It holds the majority of the nation’s gold reserves, the remainder of which is held at the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository and the San Francisco Assay Office. Altogether, the total gold reserves of the United States equal 8965.65 tons and are valued at approximate
Source: World Gold Council, with conversions by CNBC | Photo: Cliff

Value of reserves: $418.39 billion
Holdings total: 8,965.6 tons

The United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky—otherwise known as Fort Knox—is the most famous gold stockpile in the world. It holds the majority of the nation’s gold reserves, the remainder of which is held at the Philadelphia Mint, the Denver Mint, the West Point Bullion Depository and the San Francisco Assay Office.

Altogether, the total gold reserves of the U.S. equal 8,965.6 tons and would be valued at approximately $418.39 billion in today's market.

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