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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
Gold earrings are seen on display at a store in New York.

China and India remain the cultural heartlands of gold, generating 55 per cent of global jewellery demand and 49 per cent of global demand, says the World Gold Council.

The global demand for gold in 2011 rose to 4,067.1 tonnes worth an estimated $205.5 billion - the first time that global demand has exceeded $200 billion and the highest tonnage level since 1997, according to the WGC.

The main driver for this increase was the investment sector where annual demand was 1,640.7 tonnes up 5 per cent on the previous record set in 2010 and with a value of $82.9 billion.

Here's a look at 20 nations with the highest gold reserves...

1. United States

Gold holdings: 8,133.5 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 74.5%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
People walk through the jewellery area at a shopping store in Berlin.

2. Germany

Gold holdings: 3,396.3 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 71.4%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
Gold necklaces are pictured in a window at the Vicenza Oro Choice exposition in Vicenza.

3. Italy

Gold holdings:  2,451.8 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 71.0%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A man looks at jewels displayed for auction after being pawned by their owners at the Credit Municipal public pawnbroker in Nice.

4. France

Gold holdings
: 2,435.4 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 71.1%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A sales representative poses behind a nine-tael 24K gold in the shape of a dragon forming the numerals 2012.

5. China

Gold holdings:  1,054.1 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 1.6%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A watch is displayed in a glass cabinet at a newly opened shop of Swiss luxury brand Piaget at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

Switzerland

Gold holdings: 1,040.1 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 16.3%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
UAZ automobile exhibit, made amber and which costs about $650,000, is displayed during the Junwex Petersburg jewelry exhibition in St. Petersburg.

7. Russia

Gold holdings:  883.3 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 9.1%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
Second hand gold jewellery items are displayed at Ginza Tanaka store in Tokyo.

8. Japan

Gold holdings: 765.2 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 2.9%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
Figurines in 24K gold.

9. Netherlands

Gold holdings:  612.5 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 59.8%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A bejeweled bride attends a mass marriage ceremony in Gujarat.

10. India

Gold holdings:  557.7 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 9.2%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A shopkeeper poses with gold rings inside a jewellery shop in Taipei.

11. Taiwan

Gold holdings
: 422.4 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 5.4%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A general view shows jewellery and watches displayed in glass cabinets at a newly opened shop of Swiss luxury brand Piaget at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

12. Portugal

Gold holdings: 382.5 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 90.5%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A Caravaca cross hangs down the back of a man during a spiritual ceremony believed to promote good health as part of the annual religious festival of Maria Lionza.

13. Venezuela

Gold holdings: 372.9 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 72.4%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A salesman arranges gold necklaces at a jewellery shop in downtown Riyadh.

14. Saudi Arabia

Gold holdings: 322.9 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 2.9%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
An art nouveau Spanish brooch from the 1910's, made from 18-carat gold and set with opals and worth  36,000, is displayed at Bentley and Skinner jewellers in London.

15. United Kingdom

Gold holdings: 310.3 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 16.2%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A model presents a creation by jewellery designer Mukhi during a show at Joaillerie Liban Exhibition 09 in Beirut.

16. Lebanon

Gold holdings: 286.8 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 29.7%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
This set of eight ruby and diamond stars, made in the mid 19th century, originally in the collection of her Majesty Maria Isabella II, Queen of Spain.

17. Spain

Gold holdings: 281.6 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 29.7%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
Prehistoric gold spirals are displayed at the museum of natural history in Vienna.

18. Austria

Gold holdings: 280 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 55.6%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
A diamond necklace owned by Princess Grace of Monaco is displayed at the Diamond Divas exhibition in Antwerp.

19. Belgium

Gold holdings: 227.5 tonnes
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 38.5%

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20 nations with the world's largest gold reserves

Last updated on: March 9, 2012 11:02 IST
Gold sovereigns, portraying modern Turkey's founder Ataturk, are seen on sale at a jewellery shop in Istanbul.

20. Turkey

Gold holdings: 179.1
Percentage of foreign reserves in gold: 9.4%