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 international reserves.
Central banks demand creeps higher in February
In February, central banks bought a net 36 tonnes (t) of gold, almost a third higher than January’s net purchases, but 52% lower y-o-y. This brings y-t-d net purchases to 64.5t, 44% lower than the 116.1t of net purchases over the first two months of 2019. Breaking down February’s net total into its component gross purchases (39.1t) and sales (3.1t) shows that purchases remain healthy and sales remain low. Of the central banks which have reported their gold reserves at the end of February, Turkey (24.8t), Russia (10.9t), Kazakhstan (1.8t) and Qatar (1.6t) were the only noteworthy buyers during the month. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan (3.1t) was the only significant seller.
This chart was updated in March 2020 and reports data available at that time. Data are taken from the International Monetary Fund's International Financial Statistics (IFS), March 2020 edition, and other sources where applicable. IFS data are two months in arrears, so holdings are as of December 2019 for most countries, November 2019 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.
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.