How Much Gold is there in the World?

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Global Gold Reserves as of January 2017

According to the World Gold Council, there are 33,248.5 tonnes of Gold in the world, in national reserves. Approximately 54.5% of these are held in (although not necessarily by) European countries. This number is not the same as “all the gold mined in the world”. Some sources suggest at least 165,000 tonnes have been mined. That number is very hard to estimate. Record keeping has only become throughly diligent int he past few centuries. Official statements are not immune to question. Some countries, e.g. China, prefer to remain vague on the numbers.

Top Five Countries with Highest Gold Reserves

The below five countries contain some 19,213.0 tonnes of gold. That’s approximately 57.8% of the world’s gold reserves.

  1. USA at 8,133.5 tonnes (74.2% of foreign reserves)
  2. Germany at 3,377.9 tonnes (68.1% of foreign reserves)
  3. International Monetary Fund at 2,814.0 tonnes
  4. Italy at 2,451.8 tonnes (67.2% of foreign reserves)
  5. France at 2,435.8 tonnes (67.2% of foreign reserves)

How Much is all the Gold in International Reserves Worth?

There are 33,248.5 tonnes of gold in the world, in international reserves (1,068,964,097 troy ounces). Today, at a rough 2017 price of USD 1,145.90, all the gold in the world is worth 1.25 trillion dollars. Again, that is at today’s market price. If every country liquidated it’s reserves and actually tried to sell it, it is unlikely anywhere near this price would be reached.

How much is all the gold in the world worth? If you take the 165,000 tonnes estimate seriously, use a multiplier of 4.96262989308. That gives us USD 6.20 trillion, at least according to prices in January 2017.

The following graph shows the change in gold prices since 1970 (around when the US relaxed price controls on gold).

How Much Gold is there in the world? - Gold Price Chart Since 1970 with 2017 Price

How Much Gold is produced Every Year?

2014 saw  roughly 2,994 tonnes of gold produced. This is new production, and separate from gold recycling. Since “gold is gold, is gold”, both industrial and cash for gold type purchasers send the shiny metal down a supply chain. That chain ends at precious metals refiners then sell the gold back as bullion, mostly to mints and international markets such as the LBMA.

The world’s top five producers in of gold in 2014 were:

  1. China at 450 tonnes
  2. Australia at 274 tonnes
  3. Russia at 247 tonnes
  4. USA at 210 tonnes
  5. Canada at 152 tonnes

How Much Gold is there? - Global Gold Production Map

 

A Cube Made of All Mined Gold in the World in One Year

Spatially, one year’s contribution to all the gold in the world would fit into two medium-sized bedrooms. We take an average bedroom of 3.05m x 3.05m x 2.44m. In feet, that is 10ft x 10ft x 8ft.

How is that? One cubic meter of gold has a mass of 19.282 tonnes. Recall, the world’s gold output was 2,994 tonnes per year in 2014. 2,994/19.282 = 155.27 m3. That gives us a cube of roughly 5.375m in height, width, and length. Split that in two and you have 2.6875m three ways.

Looking at our two large bedrooms statement, we can make two cubes at 2.745m x 2.745m x 2.745m each. Thus, all the gold mined in 2014 could fit, with a about 5.75cm on each side to spare.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article. Interesting note about international reserves vs. overall mined. Also, interesting if you look at the $2000 ounce we saw a few years back… would that mean that all the gold in the world would (165k) then be worth over $10 trillion? Funny how we don’t see these things as absurdities.

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