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Official international reserves by country 2020

Of all the countries in the world, China had, by far, the largest international reserves in August 2020, with 3.46 trillion U.S. dollars in reserves and foreign currency liquidity. Japan and Switzerland were the only other countries with over a trillion U.S. dollars in reserves, with a total of 1.51 trillion U.S. dollars and 1.003 trillion U.S. dollars respectively.

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 2020

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Release date

September 2020



Survey time period

August 2020

Supplementary notes

*July 2020 figures

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Statistics on "Global currencies"

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