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Where's the Gold?

Hugo Salinas Price
written May 25, 2007
posted May 30, 2007

(Including IMF gold)

Gold Reserves of all reporting Central Banks of the world in 1948, amounted to 970 million ounces, or 30,170 metric tonnes.

Gold Reserves peaked in 1966, at 1,230 million ounces, or 38,257 metric tones.

Gold Reserves declined to a minimum low of 889 million ounces, or 27,651 metric tonnes in 2003.

Gold Reserves increased once again, to 919 million ounces, or 28,583 metric tonnes, in January 2007.


 Metric tonnes
 World gold stock 1966:  76,000
 CB and IMF gold stock 1966:  38,257
 Gold in private hands 1966:  37,743
 % of world gold in private hands 1966:  49.66%
 World gold stock 2007:  157,000*
 CB and IMF gold stock 2007:  28,583
 Gold in private hands 2007:  128,417
 % of world gold in private hands 2007:  81.8%
 * 152,000 in 2005, plus approx. 2,500 yearly production.

From the tables we gather the following:

Since the Central Banks of the world began to sell off their gold reserves in 1966, when their stocks peaked at 38,257 tonnes, private individuals have added to their stocks, which were in 1966 estimated at 37,743 tonnes, as follows:

Private purchases of gold 1966-2007:

9,674 tonnes - net sale of gold by CBs 1966-2007
81,000 tonnes - every single ounce mined since 1966 to date, except for 933 tonnes reacquired by the CBs 2003-2007. (The CBs were no longer unanimous with regard to selling off their gold, in the period 2003-2007; the CBs as a group made net repurchases of 933 tonnes of gold in that period.)

A grand total of 90,674 metric tonnes of gold have been bought up by private individuals since 1966!

Will the world gold market - humanity, who has been saving gold forever - change its mind about gold as a wise investment? Will fiddling with the price of gold in New York, make the world change its mind about the wisdom of owning gold? As the world is swimming in fiat money creation, will gold savers change their minds and stop buying gold? Will hammering the price make the world gold market change its mind about gold, or will it just make gold cheaper to acquire for the millions that want to own it?

World stocks of gold are increasing at a rate of about 1.6% a year. Fiat money is growing by leaps and bounds, all around the world. Can the Central Bankers of the world hope to contain the price of gold, while the world's creation of new money goes on at a frantic pace of about 12% a year - perhaps more?

CB and IMF reported share of world gold stocks has fallen from 50.34% in 1966 to 18.2% today; however, careful studies estimate undisclosed Central Bank loans of gold of up to 15,000 tonnes, which the borrowers ("bullion banks") sold to private individuals. If CBs have actually lost 15,000 tonnes of gold in their useless effort to contain its price, then roughly speaking we would have:

Ownership of world gold:

CBs and IMF: 8.65 % of world gold stock
Private hands: 91.35% of world gold stock.

A dark shadow lies over the reported gold stocks of 28,853 tonnes as of 2007. These include 8,117 tonnes of US gold which the Treasury says are in "Deep Storage". A most unusual and evasive categorization of gold! There are doubts regarding CB gold. Do they have what they say they have? Is there any gold at all left in US gold reserves?

Let's put it this way: who has been judging correctly with regard to the wisdom of owning gold - a few dozen Central Bankers and Treasury chiefs, or millions of human beings around the globe? The collective wisdom of mankind has always held gold in high regard; surely it will continue to do so until the end of time. The few dozen arrogant men who think that this collective wisdom can and should be wiped out, are fighting the wishes of humanity and will have to fail in their efforts, simply because the IMF figures tell us that if they insist on being stubborn about not allowing the price of gold to rise and persisting in the sale of Central Bank gold, they will end up with no gold to sell.

Note 1: This article was inspired by Antal E. Fekete's draft of his paper "THE DOLLAR: AN AGONIZING REAPPRAISAL - GOLD VANISHING INTO PRIVATE HOARDS". I hope Prof. Fekete's interesting paper is published soon.

Note 2: We have used figures regarding total gold stocks, yearly production, CB and IMF total holdings, and private holdings which are necessarily approximate. We have done our best to gather information provided to the IMF by CBs, but some banks do not report. However, by and large, the trends are clear and we stand by our comments in this article.

Hugo Salinas Price, President
Asociación Cívica Mexicana Pro Plata, A.C.
Mexico City

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