As central banks around the globe continue stocking up their gold reserves, it only makes sense to take stock of the top holders worldwide. Since gold retains its value so well, central banks stockpile gold to combat inflation and execute various monetary strategies.
Central bank gold buying really picked up in 2022, with the year’s total purchases breaking the record for the most central bank gold purchases ever recorded. So far, nations have kept up the momentum this year as well.
The data for the top 20 gold reserve holders in 2023 comes from the World Gold Council Q2 2023 report and the United States Geological Survey.
Austria comes in twentieth place with 279.99 tons of gold in its reserves valued at $17.2 billion. Just barely next in line are Spain and Lebanon, carrying 281.58 tons and 286.83, respectively.
The UK ranks number 17 with 310.29 tons, though the nation offers a bit more significance to the gold market. The UK is home to the London Bullion Market Association, which determines internationally recognized gold prices.
Kazakhstan contains some of the most natural gold resources in the world, yet its reserves rank number 16 because 2023 has been a high sell-off year for the nation. Based on the latest reports, Kazakhstan’s reserves total 313.53 tons of gold.
Saudi Arabia may be known for its oil district, but it also ranks number 15 for the most gold reserves in the world as of 2023. The Saudi Arabian Mining Company is much to thank for the nation’s recently high reserve levels, now totaling 323.07 tons.
Uzbekistan also frequently flip-flops between buying and selling gold, likely because it contains one of the largest gold mines in the world, producing more than three million ounces per year. Right now, Uzbekistan ranks number 14 for the top gold reserves in the world, with its total reserves amounting to 377.28 tons.
Portugal has historically held a hefty level of gold in its reserves since it began purchasing the commodity from colonies like East Timor and Mozambique. Today, Portugal carries 382.63 tons of gold in its reserves, placing it at rank number 13.
Ranking number 12 on the list is Taiwan, with 423.63 tons of gold in its reserves, likely because of its proximity to other East Asian nations.
Turkey began selling off its gold in 2023; otherwise, it would likely sit closer to number one on this list. Instead, Turkey ranks at number 11 with 439.75 tons of gold in its reserves.
The Netherlands may come as a surprise to some, given its lack of major mining players, yet the nation considers gold a key asset in global trade and value storing. The Netherlands ranks number 10 on the list, with 612.45 tons of gold in its reserves.
India values gold like nearly no other nation, with precious metals playing a key role in its Hindu festival, Diwali. India’s total reserves amount to 797.44 tons, ranking it number 9 on the list.
Unlike numerous other nations in Asia, Japan’s gold demand primarily comes from investors rather than retail buyers. Japan’s total reserves amount to 845.97 tons, ranking it at number 8.
Switzerland ranks in seventh place with 1,040 tons of gold. The financial epicenter may not have its own mining activities but imports around $80 billion worth of gold per year.
Despite China’s enormous gold purchase in the last 11 months, the nation only ranks in sixth place with 2113.46 total tons of gold in its reserves. Some speculators believe China may have much more unreported gold than this total, though.
At number five is Russia, the second-largest gold-producing nation in the world. Russia has 2329.63 tons of gold in its reserves as a way to strategically weaponize the U.S. dollar.
As a surprise to many in the gold industry due to its relative silence, France ranks number four with 2436.88 tons. The nation has stockpiled this gold over time by importing it from neighboring nations.
Italy ranks number three due to its rich history with gold. The nation has 2451.84 tons of gold, with much of it dating back to Roman times.
Another European powerhouse, Germany, ranks in second place with 3352.65 tons of gold. Because of all of these nations in Europe carrying so much gold, Western Europe currently has the most gold reserves of all continents.
As you may have guessed, the United States ranks number one with 8133.46 tons of gold in its reserves. The U.S. has numerous mines continuing to produce high levels of gold annually.