International reserves and foreign currency liquidity in selected countries worldwide as of August 2019
(in billion U.S. dollars)
Official international reserves by country 2019
Of all the countries in the world, China had, by far, the largest international reserves in August 2019, with 3.38 trillion U.S. dollars in reserves and foreign currency liquidity. Japan was the only other country with over a trillion U.S. dollars in reserves, with a total of 1.38 trillion U.S. dollars.

Why do countries hold reserves?

A simple explanation for China’s accumulation of foreign currency could be its consistently positive and substantial trade balance. When China exports goods and services, it accepts the foreign currency, usually U.S. dollars, and holds that currency in reserve. In addition to facilitating trade, most countries, including China, also hold foreign exchange reserves to ensure the stability of their currencies and facilitate other foreign transactions.

Other significant reserves

Even though most of the world left the gold standard in 1971, most countries still retain large gold reserves. The United States, followed by Germany and Italy, held the largest amount of gold reserves worldwide as of December 2018.
International reserves and foreign currency liquidity in selected countries worldwide as of August 2019
(in billion U.S. dollars)
Value in billion U.S. dollars
Argentina 54.1
Australia *45.02
Austria 26.46
Brazil386.48
Canada**86.3
Chile 65.57
China: Hong Kong*471.34
China: Mainland*3,383.04
Colombia 54.5
Germany 226.59
Greece 8.65
India *430.78
Ireland 5.29
Japan 1,379.46
Korea, Republic of401.48
Mexico*187.99
Peru 67.66
Singapore*272.67
Spain78.06
Switzerland*829.42
Thailand*218.41
United Kingdom198.06
United States128.94
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Source

Release date

September 2019

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

August 2019

Supplementary notes

*July 2019 figures
**June 2019 figure

Official international reserves by country 2019
Of all the countries in the world, China had, by far, the largest international reserves in August 2019, with 3.38 trillion U.S. dollars in reserves and foreign currency liquidity. Japan was the only other country with over a trillion U.S. dollars in reserves, with a total of 1.38 trillion U.S. dollars.

Why do countries hold reserves?

A simple explanation for China’s accumulation of foreign currency could be its consistently positive and substantial trade balance. When China exports goods and services, it accepts the foreign currency, usually U.S. dollars, and holds that currency in reserve. In addition to facilitating trade, most countries, including China, also hold foreign exchange reserves to ensure the stability of their currencies and facilitate other foreign transactions.

Other significant reserves

Even though most of the world left the gold standard in 1971, most countries still retain large gold reserves. The United States, followed by Germany and Italy, held the largest amount of gold reserves worldwide as of December 2018.
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