Holders and trends

Statistics covering ETF and central bank holdings, data on the attitudes of central banks, and a break-down of the above-ground stock of gold.

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Global gold-backed ETF holdings and flows

Gold-backed ETFs (gold ETFs) experienced net outflows of 25.5 tonnes (t) (-US$1.4bn, -0.7% AUM) in October. Outflows of near equal magnitude from Europe and North America were marginally offset by inflows in Asia. Global gold ETF holdings fell to 3,567t (US$203bn) during the month – notching year-to-date low levels – as investor appetite for gold diminished in the ETF space following price declines in August and September. However, this was countered by both a pickup in COMEX managed money net long positions in gold futures and evidence of continued strength in vaulted physical gold, suggesting some investors may be shifting gold ETF positions into physical exposure while prices recover.

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2021 Central Bank Gold Reserves Survey

Central banks continue to be positive on gold, with roughly the same number of central banks expected to buy gold compared to last year. According to the 2021 Central Bank Gold Reserves (CBGR) survey, 21% of central banks intend to increase their gold reserves over the next 12 months.

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Above-ground stocks

A breakdown of the above-ground stock of gold, including a time series of how it has evolved since 2010, and the latest year-end estimate of below-ground stocks.

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2020 Central Bank Gold Reserve Survey

The number of central banks buying gold is expected to increase substantially this year. According to the 2020 Central Bank Gold Reserves (CBGR) survey, 20% of central banks intend to increase their gold reserves over the next 12 months, compared to just 8% of respondents in the 2019 survey. 

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2019 Central Bank Gold Reserve Survey

Central banks bought 651 tonnes of gold in 2018, the highest volume on record under the existing international monetary system. In the World Gold Council’s second annual Central Bank Gold Reserve Survey, we explore: the motivations behind these purchases; planned changes in reserve asset allocations; gold management strategies; and gold operations practices.