Discussions involving gold hoarders tend to generate images of the stereotypical nervous Nellie hiding out somewhere in the wilderness. Uncivilized and irrational, they count their so-called barbaric stacks of gold, which are located next to a lifetime supply of canned goods. While this portrayal may be amusing, the biggest hoarders of gold are some of the most advanced nations in the world.
Global gold demand reached 3,756.1 tonnes last year, valued at $170 billion, according to the World Gold Council. Demand was down from the prior year due to heavy outflows in exchange-traded funds and similar products, but bar and coin demand surged 28 percent year-over-year as investors still had an appetite for hard assets.
With gold prices posting their first annual loss in more than a decade, central banks around the world purchased 368.9 tonnes of gold in 2013, above the five-year average of 282.6 tonnes. Let’s take a look at the ten nations with the largest gold reserves, based on the latest international financial statistics and the WGC.