Central banks

In 2018, the World Gold Council, in cooperation with YouGov, surveyed 22 central banks to better understand how they manage their gold reserves. Of the central banks surveyed, 18 held gold as part of their reserves.

Central banks invest in gold for many reasons. There are well known reasons such as gold’s role as a safe haven asset and an effective portfolio diversifier. But the survey results also reveal that there are other important reasons relevant to central banks, such as gold’s ability to improve risk-adjusted returns and its use as valuable collateral – both of which were viewed as relevant by 71% of central banks.


Central banks survey - Central banks relevance

Sources: World Gold Council; Disclaimer

Expectation of gold investment change

18% of central banks plan to increase their holdings of allocated bullion over the next 12 months, none plan to decrease their exposure to gold over that period.

Management of gold

Although most central banks manage gold the same as other reserves, it is often excluded from their portfolio optimisation.

Share of gold

Most central banks do not have a target allocation for gold reserves.

Percent of gold stored domestically

The amount of gold held domestically varies across central banks, but 17% of respondents hold 80-95% of their gold domestically.

12 month change in domestic storage

The amount of gold held domestically varies across central banks, but 17% increased domestic storage over the past 12 months.

Source of gold purchases

Although central banks source the majority of their gold on the global market, domestic sources still provide an important input.


World Gold Council

Update Schedule

The survey is expected to be conducted annually