While the tussle between the United States and Iran went on, India's official gold holdings marginally increased to 625.6 tonnes, as of January, an increase of 7.4 tonnes over the last two months. In value terms, the addition will be worth over Rs 12,800 crore. This is about 6.6 per cent of the share held in gold in total foreign reserves and India continues to have the tenth largest gold reserves in the world, said data from the World Gold Council (WGC).
As per the World Gold Council's (WGC) data in November, India had 618.2 tonnes of the yellow metal as holdings, which comprised 6.9 per cent of the share held in gold in total foreign reserves. The country's foreign exchange reserves swelled by $2.520 billion to touch a record high of $457.468 billion in the week to December 27, according to the RBI data. The RBI data had valued gold reserves at $27.392 billion.
Except in the case of Russia, which bought an additional 20 tonnes during the last two months of 2019, the gold holdings of most other countries in the top ten rankings remain the same. The data has not factored in the intense tension between the US and Iran that resulted in crude and gold price rise in the new year, as many central banks and large institutions increasingly bought gold over the past few days as a reserve to face the emergency.
WGC data shows the United States (US) has the largest gold holding with 8133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3366.5 tonnes and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with 2814 tonnes. Other countries having more gold holdings than India are Italy with 2451.8 tonnes, France with 2436 tonnes, Russian Federation with 2261.5 tonnes, China: PR Mainland with 1948.3 tonnes, Switzerland with 1040 tonnes and Japan with 765.2 tonnes. World Gold Council is an independent agency tracking and analysing gold trade globally at the wholesale level. India's Central bank had purchased about 200 tonnes of gold from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2009, which was the biggest purchase when the IMF decided to sell 403.3 tonnes or one-third of its reserves.