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The International Monetary Fund has sold 200 metric tonnes of gold to the Reserve Bank of India for about $6.7 billion, in a bid to increase the Washington-based financial institution's capacity to lend to poor nations.
On September 18, 2009, the IMF's executive board approved gold sales strictly limited to 403.3 metric tonnes, representing one eighth of its total holdings. India and China were seen as the likely buyers given the two Asian giants' economic strength even in the face of the global recession that ravaged most economies.
But India beat China to it and the Reserve Bank of India paid about $1,045 per ounce for the gold. This new purchase puts India gold reserves in the 11th spot among the world's leading gold owners.
Let us take a look at who are the other biggies who have huge gold reserves. Read on. . .
1. United States of America
The country has 8,133.5 tonnes of gold which constitutes 77.4 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
The USA is also the world's third highest buyer and fourth largest producer of gold. In 2007, it produced 240 tonnes of gold.
The US economy is the largest in the world, with an estimated 2008 gross domestic product of $14.3 trillion (a quarter of nominal global GDP and a fifth of global GDP at purchasing power parity).
The country has 3,408.3 tons of gold which comprises about 69.2 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
It is a major economic power with the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest in purchasing power parity.
It possesses 3,217.3 tonnes of gold.
The International Monetary Fund is a multilateral financing agency -- an organization of 186 countries -- working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote employment and growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
The country is in possession of 2,451.8 tonnes of gold that comprises 66.6 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
Italy is a developed country with the eighth-highest quality of life index rating in the world. It is the seventh-largest economy in the world and the fourth-largest in Europe.
It possesses 2,445.1 tonnes of gold that makes up 70.6 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
France is the largest country in the European Union. It is the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP and eighth largest economy by purchasing power parity.
It is the most visited country in the world, with 82 million foreign tourists visiting the country annually.
The country possesses 1,054 tonnes of gold which constitutes 1.9 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
China has had the fastest-growing major economy for the past 30 years with an average annual GDP growth rate above 10 per cent.
China is the third largest economy in the world after the US and Japan with a nominal GDP of $4.4 trillion as of 2008.
The country possesses 1,040.1 tonnes of gold which makes up 29.1 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world with a GDP of $315.768 billion.
Zurich and Geneva have been ranked as having the second and third highest quality of life in the world.
Japan is in possession of 765.2 tonnes of gold which constitutes 2.3 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
Japan is a major economic power with world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third largest in purchasing power parity.
It is also the world's fourth largest exporter and sixth largest importer. It is also the only Asian country in the G-8.
9. The Netherlands
The Netherlands is in possession of 612.5 tonnes of gold which makes up 59.6 per cent of the country's total forex reserves.
The Netherlands has one of the most free market capitalist economies in the world, ranking 12th of 157 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom registering a GDP of $677.490 billion (2008).
Russia possesses 568.4 tonnes of gold which constitutes 4.3 per cent of the country's forex reserves.
Russia is the world's seventh largest buyer of gold. Russia is also a big producer of gold. In fact, it is the world's sixth largest gold-producer. In 2007, it produced 169.2 tonnes of gold.
The country is in possession of 557.7 tonnes of gold which constitutes about 6 per cent of the country's forex reserves.
The International Monetary Fund recently sold 200 tonnes of gold to the Reserve Bank of India for about $6.7 billion.
Analysts feel that it is a very smart move as by buying IMF gold, New Delhi is shoring up its bullion reserves and slowly trying to hedge its bets on the US dollar which has been losing value against other currencies.
The RBI paid on average about $1,045 per ounce for the gold and the transaction would be paid in hard currency and not in IMF Special Drawing Rights, the IMF's internal unit of account.