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In 1968, before the collapse of the International Gold Standard, gold ownership was about 4.75% of financial assets held worldwide. Since 1990, gold has represented approximately 0.5% of financial assets. Source: CPM Group.
These statistics are from the World Gold Council (WGC), September 12, 2011; note that in terms of holdings, Gold Electronically Transferred Funds (GETF) and SPDR Gold Shares/GLD, the largest GETF in the world, rank between France and China. Interestingly, the WGC estimates that 165,500 metric tonsâ€”or approximately 5,321 million ouncesâ€”of gold have been mined throughout history. About half of that amount has been mined since 1950 due to improvements in mining safety, including better HVAC and architectural designs, massive earth moving equipment and refinements in the cyanide process.
From 1966 until 2008, Central Banks were net sellers of gold but in 2009, they bought 15.1 million ounces of gold, which represents a net positive swing of 27.3 million ounces. The gold price is expected to remain firm as Central Banks are expected to continue to hold gold. Of the Central Banks, the U.S. holds the greatest amount of gold. Source: CPM Group.