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
Central banks are reported to have increased global official gold reserves by almost 26 tonnes (t) in November, down from almost 100t in October. This is the first month-on-month decline in net purchases since June 2018.
But net purchases remained strong over the course of 2018, as more and more central banks have bought gold. By the end of November central bank net purchases were over 450t, well in excess of the same period in 2017.
Net purchases continue to be driven by emerging market banks, with diversification, and “de-dollarisation” underpinning demand. The National Bank of Hungary also cited gold’s role as a hedge against future structural changes in the international financial system when it announced its ten-fold increase in gold reserves in October. Net sales remain virtually non-existent.
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.