Saturday, July 28, 2007

Who's got the gold?

According to latest World Gold Council figures (June), these are the biggest gold hoards held by individual nations and organisations, in descending order (countries not listed have less than 1% each):

United States, Germany, IMF, France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, ECB, Netherlands, China, Taiwan, Russia, Portugal, India, Venezuela, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria, Lebanon.

The first 3 above account for nearly 49% of the world's stock, with the USA alone (since the dollar is the world's reserve currency) owning 26.77%.

The Central Bank Gold Agreement organises the buying and selling of gold by its member countries, to provide some price stability. Since the start of this year, the main change has been Spain's sale of 19.11% of its stock.

Figures are available from Q1 of 2000 onward. From then until now, here are the significant moves:

SALES (expressed as a percentage of each country's stock held as at Q1 2000):

Switzerland 50.19%
UK 47.25%
Portugal 36.94%
Spain 35.60%
Netherlands 29.71%
Austria 29.14%
ECB 14.14%
France 11.37%
Russia 4.95%
Germany 1.33%

On average, all gold-holding countries reduced their stock by an average of 9.89% over these 90 months; signatories to the Central Bank Gold Agreement reduced theirs by around 16 to 17%.

ACQUISITIONS (expressed as a percentage of each country's stock held as at Q1 2000)

China 51.89%
Venezuela 14.71%
Japan 1.55%

Venezuela has less than 360 tonnes; Japan hasn't added much percentage-wise. So the odd man out is China. China now has 600 tonnes and is in 10th place, rising from 395 tonnes (16th place) in 2000. It made major purchases of about 100 tonnes each at the end of 2001 and 2002.

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