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.
Following the multi-decade high in gold reserves growth in 2018, central banks’ appetite remained healthy at the start of 2019.
Gross purchases of 48 tonnes (t) and gross sales of 13t led to global gold reserves rising by 35 tonnes on a net basis in January, with sizeable increases from 9 central banks. This is the largest January increase in gold reserves in our records (back to 2002) and illustrates the recent strength in gold accumulation. Demand was concentrated amongst emerging market central banks with diversification the key driver in the face of ongoing geopolitical and economic uncertainty. Please note that our data set now includes gold reserves data for Uzbekistan back to December 2017.
This chart was updated in March 2019 and reports data available at that time. Data are taken from the International Monetary Fund's International Financial Statistics (IFS), March 2019 edition, and other sources where applicable. IFS data are two months in arrears, so holdings are as of January 2019 for most countries, December 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.