Trying to work out the total amount of gold in the World is not a straightforward exercise. There are differing opinions and some Nations are very secretive with regard to the amount of gold they are holding in their Reserves.
What we do know is that gold has been much valued for many centuries and it’s believed that the first gold coins date back to over 600 BC, when the Persian Empire owned the vast proportion of the World’s gold and minted gold coins known as “Darics”.
According to the Thomson Reuters GFMS Gold Survey 2016, in 2015 the total amount of gold in the World “above ground” had grown to 186,200 tonnes.
- Thomson Reuters GFMS Gold Survey 2016
A detailed analysis of all of the factors affecting the market for physical gold.
One thing we do know for sure is that the UK will not be high up on the list of Sovereign States holding gold reserves.
Thanks to Gordon Brown, half of our gold reserves were sold off when gold prices were at their lowest for 20 years, during the period from 1999 to 2002, a period now referred to as “Brown’s Bottom”, at a cost to the country of over £2 billion.
I’m sure Her Majesty was not well pleased!
Warren Buffett, who unlike Gordon Brown, is recognised as one of the world’s shrewdest investors, estimates that the total amount of gold in the world, the gold above ground, would fit into a 20 meter cube.
That corresponds pretty closely to the GFMS report, although the Gold Standard Institute do suggest that this estimate is far too low whilst acknowledging that their estimates are pretty speculative and based on sparse evidence.
The GFMS estimate is probably a pretty good estimation of the total amount of gold in the world, so we’ll go with that for the purposes of this article.
How To Visualise The Total Amount Of Gold In the World
I got this graphic from a BBC report back in April 2013. The GFMS estimate suggests that above ground stocks of physical gold have grown since then, by circa 15 tonnes, but the illustration is still valid and certainly helps us to visualise the total amount of gold in the World, in the whole of history, being contained within cube no higher than 10 meters, sat upon the centre court at Wimbledon.
For a commodity in such short supply, and with such a high perceived value, there is no way the current manipulated gold price, distorted by “paper” gold, comes anywhere close to representing the true economic value of physical gold, in a free market.
The total amount of gold in the World is divided between Jewellery, 88,000 tonnes, Official Holdings (National Reserves) 30,900 tonnes, private investment, including bullion and coins, 38,100 tonnes, with the balance of 29,200 tonnes being represented by other fabricated products, other than jewellery and coins, and gold that is not accounted for elsewhere, ie no one knows where it might be.
Gold has played an immense part in the course of history. It has consistently formed the basis of our currencies, and Governments have consistently debased them. It’s a cycle that has repeated time and time again.
There is an allure to gold, it has its own mystery, all of which is recounted in this enthralling documentary “The Secret World Of Gold”, which was aired on TV in the UK, over Christmas 2015.