Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Top 20 countries with largest gold reserves [Q1 2024]

Why do countries have gold reserves? Discover their importance and the global rankings for gold reserves by country

Published: May 31, 2024 10:45:06 AM IST
Updated: May 31, 2024 12:08:11 PM IST

Why do countries keep gold reserves? Because gold reserves are critical for the economic stability of a country, acting as a reliable store of value, particularly during financial uncertainties. The gold standard was a global practice in the late 1800s and a significant part of the 1900s. In this era, countries backed the value of their paper money with gold by establishing a fixed exchange rate between their currency and a specific amount of gold. Essentially, each unit of currency issued had a corresponding value in gold, and individuals could exchange their paper money for actual gold at this set rate. 

Although officially abandoned in the 1970s, many countries maintain gold reserves; the demand for gold reserves is rising due to growing economic uncertainty. Central banks are once again favouring gold as the preferred safe-haven asset. Gold reserves continue to play a crucial role in shaping a country's creditworthiness and overall economic standing, even as the contemporary economic landscape evolves.

In this post, we look at a ranking of gold reserves by country to find the top 20 countries with the most gold reserves.

Countries with the most gold reserves

As estimated by the World Gold Council, here are the current rankings of gold reserves by country in Q1, 2024.

Also Read: Gold rate history in India: 2000 to 2024

Rank & Country Gold Reserve (in tonnes)
Gold Reserve (in $ millions) & Holdings in %
#1 United States of America 8,133.46
579,050.15 (71.33%)
#2 Germany 3,352.65
238,662.64 (70.56%)
#3 Italy 2,451.84
174,555.00 (67.55%)
#4 France 2,436.88
173,492.11 (68.61%)
#5 Russian Federation 2,332.74
166,076.25 (28.14%)
#6 China 2,262.45
161,071.82 (4.64%)
#7 Switzerland 1,040.00
69,495.46 (8.04%)
#8 Japan 845.97
60,227.84 (4.67%)
#9 India 822.09
58,527.34 (8.98%)
#10 Netherlands 612.45
43,602.77 (60.47%)
#11 Turkey 570.30
40,601.81 (100.00%)
#12 Taiwan (POC) 423.63
28,224.67 (4.71%)
#13 Portugal 382.63
27,240.93 73.27%)
#14 Poland 359.89
#15 Uzbekistan 357.69
25,465.03 (74.28%)
#16 Saudi Arabia
21,588.22 (4.71)
#17 Kazakhstan 310.62
22,114.18 (58.36%)
#18 United Kingdom 310.29
22,090.45 (12.57%)
#19 Lebanon 286.83
17,249.75 (54.45%)
#20 Spain 281.58
20,046.51 (19.28%)

Why do countries have a gold reserve?

Countries maintain gold reserves for several reasons.

Firstly, gold is considered a stable and reliable store of value. By holding gold, countries can instil confidence in their economic stability, especially during financial uncertainty.

Additionally, gold has historically played a role in supporting the value of a country's currency. While the gold standard is no longer widely used, some countries still view gold reserves as a means to maintain currency stability.

Diversification is another key reason. Gold is a tangible asset; by holding it in their reserves, countries can diversify their overall portfolio. This diversification helps mitigate the risks associated with fluctuations in the value of other assets.

The appeal of gold is heightened by its inverse correlation with the US dollar. When the value of the dollar declines, gold tends to increase in value. This dynamic allows central banks to safeguard their reserves during periods of market volatility.

Gold reserves also have a role in international trade and finance. Some countries use gold to settle trade imbalances or as collateral for loans. The presence of gold reserves can enhance a country's creditworthiness and influence its standing in the global economic system.

Moreover, gold serves as a hedge during crises. Its value often rises during economic downturns or geopolitical uncertainties, safeguarding against inflation and currency devaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the countries with the most gold reserves?

The top 3 countries with the most gold reserves include the United States, Germany and Italy. The United States has the most gold reserves and has nearly as many reserves as the combined total of the next three countries with the largest gold holdings: Germany, Italy, and France.

2. What is India's ranking in gold reserves?

India holds a significant position in global gold reserves, ranking 9th in the list of countries with the most gold reserves. With a rich cultural affinity for gold and a history of gold being a traditional store of value, India's gold reserves contribute to its economic stability and play a key role in the country's financial landscape.