Gold plays an important part in central banks’ reserves management, and they are significant holders of gold. This gold reserve data – compiled using IMF IFS statistics – tracks central banks’ reported purchases and sales along with gold as a percentage of their foreign exchange reserves.
Additional commentary around central bank purchases and sales can be found in Gold Demand Trends.
Central bank demand remains strong despite slowdown in monthly purchases
Global central bank gold reserves, as reported by the IMF, grew by almost 26 tonnes (t) in December, down from 34.7t in November. Despite a month-on-month decline in demand in the final two months of the year, monthly central bank demand remained positive throughout 2018, with the annual total registering a multi-decade high. Heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainty prompted more and more central banks to diversify their reserves and re-focus their attention on safe and liquid assets. And the number of central banks who bought gold in 2018 – 23 according to the latest figures – highlights the importance of gold as a reserve asset. Net sales continued to be trivial by comparison, with nearly a dozen banks decreasing their reserves (by less than two tonnes on average) during the year.
This chart was updated in - and reports data available at that time. Data are taken from the International Monetary Fund's International Financial Statistics (IFS), December 2018 edition, and other sources where applicable. IFS data are two months in arrears, so holdings are as of September 2018 for most countries, July 2018 or earlier for late reporters. Where the World Gold Council knows of movements that are not reported to the IMF or misprints, changes have been made.
The percentage share held in gold of total foreign reserves is calculated by the World Gold Council. The value of gold holdings is calculated using the end of quarter LBMA Gold Price, which is published daily by ICE Benchmark Administration for the value of other reserves are taken from IFS, table ‘Total Reserves minus Gold’.
Length and frequency
Quarterly official gold holdings from 2000, as well as the latest available month-end data for the Top 100 holders.
Monthly and annual detailed changes in gold reserves from January 2002.
Annual sales by CBGA signatories from 1999 (updated monthly).
Monthly files are updated within the first 10 days of the month (with data two months in arrears). Quarterly data is updated a month after the end of the quarter.
Holdings are given in tonnes, US$ value and % of total reserves. Changes in holdings are measured in tonnes.