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.
Central banks strengthened global gold reserves by a net 31 tonnes (t) in March 2019, significantly lower than the 76t increase in February. Gross purchases totalled 38t, with four central banks reporting an increase of one tonne or more, while gross sales amounted to just 7t. Ongoing trade tensions and economic sluggishness remain the driving factors behind this continued diversification through gold.
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.