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An Overview of Gold Supply and Demand



Above-Ground Stock of Gold.  All of the gold ever mined through 2008 has been estimated at 163,000 tonnes (a cube with an edge length of approximately 20.2 meters).  The vast majority of that gold still exists, as scrap gold is nearly always recovered and recycled.  This above-ground stock of gold is held as jewelry (51%), official holdings (18%), private investment (17%), other fabrication (12%), and unaccounted for holdings (2%) (Source: World Gold Council).


Approximately half of total world gold production to date came from South Africa, with other major contributors being the United States, Australia, China, Russia, and Peru.  The largest gold-producing states in the U.S. are Nevada and South Dakota.  The relative importance of these producing countries has shifted in recent years, with China being the largest producer in 2009 (330 tonnes), followed by Australia (223 tonnes), South Africa (222 tonnes), the U.S., Russia, Peru, Indonesia, Canada, Ghana, and Uzbekistan (Source: World Gold Council).  China requires that all gold production in that country be sold to its central bank.


World Official Gold Holdings.  A high percentage of gold is held as official holdings by central banks.  According to the World Gold Council, world official gold holdings as of January 2012 were 30,788.9 tonnes.  Of that total, 35.0% was held in the Euro area (including the ECB), 26.4% by the U.S., and the remainder elsewhere.  The largest holdings by country were as follows:


United States 8,133.5 tonnes

Germany 3,396.3 tonnes

IMF 2,814.1 tonnes

Italy 2,451.8 tonnes

France 2,435.4 tonnes

China 1,054.1 tonnes

Switzerland 1,040.1 tonnes

Russia 873.6 tonnes

Japan 765.2 tonnes

The Netherlands 612.5 tonnes

India 557.7 tonnes

The ECB 502.1 tonnes


China’s official reserves have grown rapidly.  That country’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) announced in 2008 that official reserves had risen more than 75% to 1,054 tonnes.  Even so, those reserves represent only 2% or so of China’s total reserves, leading to speculation that there was considerable room for China to further expand its gold holdings.


Other Sources of Demand for Gold.  The World Gold Council estimates that during the years 2005-09, annual demand for gold averaged 3,692 tonnes.  Jewelry accounted for 61% of this demand, investment 27%, and industrial uses 12%.  These percentages vary considerably from year to year.  During the past two years, investment demand has grown strongly, while jewelry demand’s share has fallen.  Approximately half of jewelry demand typically comes from India, China, and the Middle East.



Gold Stocks -- Articles



Gold Stocks 360 has selected articles relating to gold stocks and gold mining.  If you have suggestions for additions to this list, please submit them to


Gold Mining.  Wikipedia article (


Gold Reserves.  Officially reported gold reserves (



Gold Stocks -- Links



KITCO® ( has comprehensive data and charts, as well as current gold news and commentaries.


The National Mining Association ( has information about gold mining and investing, as well as gold industry statistics.


U.S. Geological Survey ( has lots of gold statistics and information.


World Gold Council ( bills itself as the market development organization for the gold industry and the global voice of authority for gold.


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