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The 10 Biggest Stockpiles of Gold

"The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gold is one of the most peculiar elements ever discovered, with a value that far exceeds its practical usefulness. People wear it. Central banks hoard it. And speculators trade it back and forth in anticipation of future economic and political events.

In just the past year, consumer demand for gold jewelry soared to the highest level since the financial crisis. At the same time, however, speculators unloaded a staggering 880 tons of the precious metal.

The net result sent the price of gold down by a staggering 30% since September 2012, extracting an analogous toll on the largest gold-based exchange-traded funds, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEMKT: GLD  ) and the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEMKT: IAU  ) .

GLD Chart

Who was hurt the most by this? If data from the World Gold Council is any indication, the organizations that took the biggest hit were all government bodies.

What follows, in turn, is a table of the 10 biggest holders of gold as of December 2013.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (4)

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  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:31 PM, MrRand wrote:

    Fact is no one knows how much gold the US has as the Federal Reserve has not allowed a Congressional audit since the Eisenhower Administration. If the Fed has this much gold, then why is it taking 7 years to fulfill Germany's request for its go.d to be repatriated?

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:56 PM, joegun5 wrote:

    The Fed is not part of the government. The US treasury has the gold, the Fed is authorized to print the dollars (which are no longer backed by gold)

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:57 PM, Jheebo wrote:

    Did you include Vatican gold in this list?

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 5:44 PM, SSBN620 wrote:

    I wonder where the US would be on the list if an audit of the holdings of the Fed and Fort Knox were permitted? I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the powers that be in the US are a pack of liars.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 9:20 AM, AbeFromTokyo wrote:

    Funny how articles like this turn up all the conspiracy freaks who miss out on the point of what the article is all about.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 2:49 PM, GaryDMN wrote:

    I think China's gold reserves are grossly underestimated. Even Chinese consumer gold demand is skyrocketing. They are now the leading gold mining country, but in 2013, they became the largest importer of consumer gold. Developing countries and countries that have seen their standard of living rise seem to have an insatiable desire to own gold. The USA is no longer the center of the gold universe, Asia is.

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John Maxfield

John is The Motley Fool's senior banking specialist. If you're interested in banking and/or finance, you should follow him on Twitter.

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