While most gold in the world is held in private hands, a surprisingly large amount—about 20%—is held by governments, international organizations, and central banks. This is who owns the most in the world.
The United States' Gold Reserves
Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest reserves of gold in the world belong to the United States of America. The US reserves house over eight thousand tons of gold, which is more than twice as much as is in the hands of the country with the second-largest reserves of gold. Most of the gold that belongs to US reserves is housed in the famed Fort Knox, but it is also held in several mints throughout the country.
Germany's Gold Reserves
Germany comes in with the second-largest gold reserves in the world, holding just under three and a half thousand tons of gold.
International Monetary Fund
In third place is not a country but an international organization. The IMF holds nearly three thousand tons of gold. What does an international organization need with so much gold? The IMF uses the reserves as a way to try and stabilize the international economy. The last time the IMF sold off a large portion of its reserves was in 1999.
Italy's Gold Reserves
With nearly two and a half thousand tons of gold, Italy comes in with the fourth-largest reserves of gold in the world. Like many other countries, Italy has sold off some of its reserves in recent years.
France's Gold Reserves
Rounding out the top five is France, which nearly ties Italy but comes in at just sixteen tons less.
China's Gold Reserves
China is home to the sixth-largest reserves of gold in the world and is the first Asian country on the list and one of only three non-European countries in the top ten. China holds just over a thousand tons of gold in its national reserves. However, something interesting about China is that its gold reserves are only 1.6% of its overall foreign reserves. Compare this to the United States in which gold makes up 72.8% of foreign reserves or France, where gold accounts for 65.6%.
Switzerland, Japan, Russia, and the Netherlands Gold Reserves
Finishing out the top ten are these four countries. Similar to the previous trends, Switzerland and the Netherlands follow the Western European and American model of holding much of their foreign reserves in gold, with gold making up 24% and 55% respectively. However, Japan and Russia hold much less of their foreign reserves in gold, coming in at 2.8% and 5.5% respectively.
These are the top ten entities in the world in terms of gold reserves. Although they hold a lot of gold in their reserves, it is still a small number compared to the overall amount of gold in the world.