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Central banks hoard the precious metal because of its liquidity, which helps reduce balance-sheet risk. Gold is believed to allow central banks to preserve capital while at the same time diversifying their portfolios. The precious metal can also be moved relatively easily from one location to another.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is the world’s largest holder of gold, with 8,133.5 tonnes as of May 2020, accounting for 78.3 percent of its reserves, according to the International Monetary Fund and International Financial Statistics.
Germany was the second-largest gold hoarder at 3,362.2 tonnes, or 74.3 percent of reserves.
The International Monetary Fund has the third-largest gold stash at 2,814 tonnes. The IMF holds the commodity for financial soundness and to help meet unforeseen contingencies.
Italy and France round out of the top 5 with respective holdings of 2,451.8 tonnes and 2,436 tonnes. Italy’s stash accounts for 69.5 percent of its reserves while France’s hoard makes up 63.4 percent.