May 16, 2013

How Much Gold Is There in the World?

This is a topic more of curiosity than any real practical use.   Recently I saw someone quite a figure in the Trillions of dollars to describe the total value of the gold in the world.   The number they cited seemed awfully high but I wasn't sure so I wanted to find the actual figure and confirm or deny it.

The article How Much Gold Is There in The World? at CoinWeek asks and answers the question by saying theres 5 billion ounces (or 158,000 tons).   But lets find more sources:   This article from DNAIndia says the total inventory is 5 billion ounces so they agree.   However a page at GalMarley says its 120,000 to 140,000 tons  (3.8 to 4.4 B oz) above ground.    The last source looks a little dated and I'm more willing to trust the 2 other sources that say its 5 billion oz.  While none of these sources are really what I'd call the authority on the question I at least have a couple sources that are citing figures that agree.  So I guess I'll just trust that.

Did you know the US Mint makes
gold coins of First Spouses?

Best estimate based on reports is that there is about 5 billion ounces of mined gold in the world.

Today we can see at Kitco that gold is trading around $1,470 per ounce.    That means that in total the value of the gold in the world would be about $7.35 trillion dollars based on current spot.   Of course that figure will range up and down on a daily basis based on the volatility of the market.     Just this year the spot price of gold has ranged from $1380 to $1693.   That would give the total value a range between around $6.9T and $8.4T. 

We could roughly say that based on recent gold prices the total value of the worlds gold is around $7-8T.

A lot of the worlds gold is owned by governments and their central banks.    The USA treasury holds over 8000 tons of gold.    The Treasury site publishes their current gold inventory.   Over half of the total or 4600 tons of the nations gold is in Fort Knox.   The US gold holdings are about 5% of the total in the world.   Other nations reserves hold at least 20-25% of the total gold inventories.   The GalMarley site claimed that 70-80k tons of the worlds gold (over half the total) is in the form of gold jewelry.   I can believe that.   The remaining 20% or so of the worlds gold would be in the form of gold coinage or privately held bullion.   I'm sure theres also some amount of gold in industrial purposes somewhere in the world but I'd have no estimate on that.   Industrial uses are probably a small % of the total since gold is so expensive.

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