To establish which country has the most gold, probably the most accurate reference is the Thomson Reuters GFMS annual gold survey 2016.
You can download a copy of the report below, it makes interesting reading:
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Throughout history gold has underpinned the value of the money in our pocket, however that all changed in 1971 when Richard Nixon took the US Dollar off the Gold Standard. At that point we entered a period in our history in which there are no major currencies backed by anything other than “a promise to pay” from the Central Banks.
Effectively our money became nothing more than an IOU from States which are insolvent, and becoming increasingly so, as every day passes.
These FIAT currencies have always failed at some time, that’s an irrefutable historical fact. When Governments debase the currency we rely upon, then whenever confidence in that currency erodes, there is no other outcome possible, other than a total reset.
Germany took the Reichsmark off the Gold Standard in 1931, and turned on the printing presses, much as we have seen in recent years, with what is now termed “Quantitative Easing”.
Notes were printed in huge numbers and even 200,000,000 Reichsmarks became worthless and people reverted to a barter economy. The Reichsmark was replaced by the Deutschmark in 1948.
What is becoming clear is that the Central banks are getting increasingly worried and are accelerating the rate at which they are hoarding physical gold. Prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Central banks had been net sellers of physical gold.
We first saw this starting to happen in 2008, as the Central Banks sought to ring-fence their Nation’s wealth as the global economy went into meltdown. What we are seeing today however, is something more dramatic, with the shift of gold ownership from West to East, and the launch of a Chinese gold backed Yuan.
Which Country Has The Most Gold?
Bear in mind that the total amount of gold in the World is 186,200 tonnes, of which gold held in Official National Reserves totals just 30,900 tonnes. The top 10 countries, in terms of their Official Holdings, are shown below. Be aware however that in the East, countries like China and India, individuals acquire gold as a status symbol, just as people in the West acquire fancy cars.
Rest assured, that in those countries, the combined gold owned is far higher than the “Official Holdings”.
#1 – United States: 8134 tonnes
This statistic is impossible to validate. The United States has not permitted an audit of its gold since 1954 and whether or not US gold is still in safe keeping in Fort Knox, is shrouded in mystery.
What is clear is that whilst the East has been acquiring gold, the United States seems to believe that the US Dollar is invulnerable. US gold holdings have remained static now for the last ten years. I suspect that there will be a price to pay for this arrogance.
#2 – Germany: 3381 tonnes
The challenge for Germany is that nearly 70% of their gold is in safekeeping with the Federal Reserve in America. They have requested an audit and for the gold to be returned, so far to no avail.
#3 – Italy: 2452 tonnes
Whilst Italy have substantial gold stocks, they haven’t moved much for the best part of twenty years.
#4 – France: 2436 tonnes
The Bank of France has indicated that it will not sell its gold because it gives them “a level of confidence, an element of diversification, and can absorb some volatility from the Central Bank’s balance sheet.”
#5 – Russia: 1393 tonnes
At the start of 2009 Russia had just 532 tonnes of gold. They have ramped that up in recent years and, just like China, is keen to reduce its dependence on both the US dollar and the Euro.
#6 – China: 1762 tonnes
China is one of the World’s top gold producers and have been hoarding gold for some time now in anticipation both for the acceptance of the Yuan as a Reserve Currency by the IMF and the introduction of a new gold backed Yuan. China was instrumental in the establishment of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, much to the angst of the Fed, and all of the signals indicate that they are concerned at the level of reserves they are holding in US an Euro bonds.
#7 – Switzerland
Switzerland only came off the gold standard in 1999. Until then its constitution had required that the Swiss franc should be 40% backed by gold. In the years following, the bank sold an average of one tonne of gold each day, for five years, at prices ranging from $300 an ounce to $500 an ounce.
I suspect that could be a decision that they regret.
#8 – Japan
Japan’s gold holdings have stayed static now since 2001. They are struggling and in recession. It will be interesting to see if they start to build their reserves to stabilise their currency.
#9 – Netherlands
Per capita this is a lot of gold. The Netherlands did well recently to repatriate 120 tonnes of their gold from New York, something that Germany has so far struggled to achieve.
#10 – India
India loves gold. It might only rank #10 in terms of “Official Holdings”, but in the Indian culture gold Jewellery is something everyone aspires to own. Of the 88,000 tonnes of gold on Earth that have been converted into jewellery I suspect that a large proportion might be found in India!
There is an allure to gold, it has its own mystery, all of which is recounted in this enthralling documentary:
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“The Secret World Of Gold”, which was aired on TV in the UK, over Christmas 2015.