Gold has been an essential component of nations' financial reserves for centuries, and its attractiveness shows no sign of diminishing, as central banks will once again become net buyers of gold this year. In fact, central banks now have more than 35,000 metric tons of metal, about one-fifth of all the gold ever mined. But what is it about gold that has made it such a key asset for so long? A gold reserve is gold held by a national central bank, conceived mainly as a guarantee to fulfill promises of payment to depositors, banknote holders (for example, paper money) or their trading peers, during the gold standard era, and also as a store of value or to support the value of the national currency. For most of history, a nation's gold reserves were considered its main financial asset and an important war prize.
The Belgian government transferred one-third of its gold reserves to the United Kingdom, another third to Canada and the United States, and most of the rest to southern France. After the outbreak of the war, the gold stored in France was sent to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, which was then part of the French colonial empire. This was against the wishes of the Belgian Government, since the Belgians had ordered the French to transfer it to the United States. After the Germans occupied Belgium and France in 1940, they demanded the Belgian gold reserve located in Senegal.
In 1941, the French authorities in Vichy organized the transportation of 4,944 boxes containing 198 tons of gold to German Reichsbank officials, and the German Government used them to purchase products and ammunition from neutral countries. The Bank of France fully compensated the National Bank of Belgium for the loss of its gold after the war. The IMF regularly maintains statistics on domestic assets, as reported by several countries. The World Gold Council uses this data to classify and report periodically the gold stocks of countries and official organizations.
The gold listed for each of the countries in the table may not be physically stored in the country listed, since central banks generally do not allow independent audits of their reserves. The leasing of gold by central banks could call into question the gold holds declared in the following table. After the verification process, the gold is moved to one of the 122 compartments of the vault, where each compartment contains gold held by a single account holder (meaning that gold doesn't mix between account holders). A gold reserve is gold held by a national central bank, primarily intended to guarantee the reimbursement of payment promises to depositors and banknote holders (for example, the New York Federal Reserve charges account holders a management fee for gold transactions, even when gold enters or leaves the vault or property is transferred (it moves between compartments), but otherwise it does not charge fees for The storage of gold.
Stocks in the gold vault continued to rise and peaked in 1973, shortly after the United States suspended the convertibility of dollars into gold for foreign governments. Much of the gold in the vault arrived during and after World War II, as many countries wanted to store their gold reserves in a safe place. The market value of a gold ingot depends on its weight, level of purity and the current market price of gold. However, despite the fact that all four countries have purchased substantial quantities of gold over the past decade or so, they still lag behind their Western counterparts, since gold represents only 22 percent of Russia's reserves, while China's stocks, of just under 2000 tons, represent only 3 percent.