When we think of the wealth held by nations, we conjure images of Fort Knox in our minds. Seemingly bottomless vaults with gold bars stacked floor to ceiling. Do countries still accumulate that much gold? If so, which countries have the highest gold reserves?
In this article, we’ll identify the five countries with the most gold and briefly explore how these nations made it to the top of our list.
Countries with the Highest Gold Reserves:
1. United States
Holding 8,133 tons of gold in their treasury, the United States has more gold than any other nation (and nearly more than the following three countries on this list, combined). America’s power in the world is attributed to its wealth. Though the U.S. abandoned the gold standard in 1971, the Treasury still holds vast reserves to bolster its liquidity in times of economic uncertainty.
Germany comes in second on this list and holds 3,366 tons of gold reserves in its central bank. Beating out countries with larger economies and higher GDPs, Germany owes its place on this list to a 2017 policy that called back all of its foreign-held gold. This move was highly effective, as the value of gold has steadily risen since then.
Italy’s central bank currently holds 2,452 tons of gold in its reserves. That’s a value of more than $150 billion! Italy’s Treasury contends that their stores of gold help protect against changes in the dollar’s value. It is especially effective during periods of inflation, they say.
After major changes to its banking policies, France has amassed 2,444 tons of gold in its reserves, barely missing Italy. France is determined to retain its reserves and recently adopted a program similar to Germany’s in buying back their foreign-held gold. The buildup of gold is a major talking point of France’s Front National political party.
Closing out this list is the Russian Federation, which holds a whooping 2,219 tons of gold in its reserves. Russia is recently the most aggressive gold buyer among the countries included in this list, acquiring 224 tons of gold in 2018 alone. This investment led Russia to narrowly exceed China’s 1,937-ton reserve. Russia says this is meant to move its economy away from the influence of the American dollar.
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