What Size is the Gold Reserve Owned by the IMF?

Gold has long been associated with wealth and currency; in modern society it remains one of the key reserve assets which helps bolster economies worldwide. One notable global holder of gold reserves is the International Monetary Fund (IMF); this article delves deeper into their status and significance.

What Is the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?

Before we discover its golden figure, it's crucial that we grasp its function as part of the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944. Created to foster global monetary cooperation and financial stability; facilitate international trade; support employment growth with sustainable economic expansion and alleviate poverty globally - these are all objectives the IMF aspires to accomplish through global monetary cooperation; financial stability protection measures; promote high employment levels while at the same time reduce poverty globally.

IMF Gold History

Gold has played an essential part in IMF operations from its inception. Member nations were initially required to pay subscription quotas with gold as part of their subscription payments and thus it formed part of its original financial reservoir. After Bretton Woods collapsed in 1971 however, its role became less central to operations of the Fund; nevertheless, it remains an invaluable financial asset that provides protection from global instability.

As of September 2021, the IMF had approximately 90.5 million troy ounces (approximately 2,814 metric tons) of gold reserves on hand; making it one of the world's leading official holders and second only to countries like the US and Germany in holding such reserves. Although market values fluctuated according to fluctuations in gold's price over recent years, their total worth can still be substantial when taken together as one entity.

Purpose of Gold Reserve

Whilst holding gold as reserve assets can seem innocuous enough, what exactly are their implications in practical terms? Simply put, their purpose lies in providing fundamental strength to IMF balance sheets so it may lend resources when member countries require. In times of financial emergencies or need, however, these reserves provide essential resilience so they may even sell some to fund lending to member nations.

Keep gold reserves as an effective means to diversify assets and manage risks, since gold often moves opposite of stock markets; having substantial gold reserves provides protection from fluctuations in currency values.

Sales and Transactions

The IMF has historically only participated in gold sales on limited occasions; most prominent sales took place between 1976-1980 before increasing considerably between 2009-10 for various goals such as providing concessional lending resources to low-income countries.

Additionally, any decision regarding selling gold requires approval by at least 89% of voting power; this ensures all member countries can participate in such critical discussions.


The IMF gold reserves are substantial - approximately 90.5 million troy ounces or about 2,814 tons - serving both as historical legacy and crucial financial asset that enable it to maintain financial stability as well as help when member countries encounter economic difficulty.