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  • A single ounce of gold is roughly the size of a sugar cube and currently sells for nearly

  • $1,300.

  • Gold has been part of the world's many monetary systems for thousands of years and banks still

  • hold gold reserves as a store of value, as an asset, and as financial insurance should

  • they hit economic turmoil.

  • It's a rare metal that costs a great deal to mine, which is one of the reasons it holds

  • value.

  • How rare is it?

  • That's what we intend to find out, in this episode of The Infographics Show: How Much

  • Gold Is There In The World?

  • Ok, so before we work out how much gold there is in the world, let's first talk about

  • what gold is and why it is so valuable.

  • Silver has far more industrial uses.

  • Copper is much more plentiful and has superior electrical conductivity, and Platinum and

  • palladium are both more rare and the best-known metals to reduce harmful auto emissions.

  • But what gold has going for it, is it's superior chemical properties.

  • Gold cannot be destroyed by water, as it doesn't rust; by time, coins remain recognizable after

  • a thousand years; by fire it takes 1945.4° F to melt it; Gold is also uniquely malleable,

  • as it spreads without cracking; it's ductile, as it stretches without breaking; and most

  • importantly gold is very rare.

  • It's estimated that all the gold ever found would only fill two Olympic-sized swimming

  • pools.

  • The purchasing power of gold has also endured throughout the centuries.

  • 2,000 years ago, during the time of Christ, an ounce of gold would buy a Roman citizen

  • his toga, complete with a leather belt, and a pair of sandals.

  • Today, one ounce will still buy a good suit, a leather belt, and a pair of shoes.

  • In 400 BC, during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, an ounce of gold would buy you 350 loaves

  • of bread.

  • Today, an ounce still buys you about 350 to 400 loaves, assuming the average cost of a

  • loaf is around $3.50.

  • And in 1978, gold averaged $193 an ounce, so it took roughly 290 ounces of gold to buy

  • a median priced house in the US.

  • In 2014, gold had risen to around $1,266 an ounce, so it took only 225 ounces of gold

  • to buy the median priced house in the US.

  • Gold not only holds its value, it boosts your purchasing power.

  • So how much of this heavy glowing metal is there out in the world, and who has their

  • hands on it?

  • The United States holds the largest gold reserve at more than 8,000 metric tons, which is worth

  • more than $375 billion.

  • These reserves were a significant portion of the country's $850 billion monetary base

  • in 2008, but since then, it has become a smaller portion of the monetary base, which was $4

  • trillion by 2017.

  • By comparison, China holds less than 3 percent of its reserve holdings in gold.

  • While the U.S. holds the largest gold reserves, other countries are adding to their reserves

  • at a faster rate or have access to domestic gold sources.

  • The countries with the largest gold reserves, as of June 2017 are: United States 8,133.5

  • metric tons, Germany 3,374.1 metric tons, Italy 2,451.8 metric tons, France 2,435.9

  • metric tons, China 1,842.6 metric tons, Russia 1,715.8 metric tons, and Switzerland 1,040.0

  • metric tons.

  • The International Monetary Fund or IMF also holds 2,814 metric tons of gold, while the

  • European Central Bank, or ECB holds about 504.8 metric tons in its reserves.

  • These are the major reserves, but then you have smaller reserves held by other countries

  • and individuals, and of course all the jewelry in the world.

  • According to the BBC's online magazine, Science Focus, the World Gold Council reported

  • in 2015, that there are around 184,000 total tons sitting in bank vaults, government reserves

  • and personal collections, with jewelry accounting for roughly 50 percent of that number.

  • That sounds like a lot of gold but as gold is so heavy, one cubic meter weighs over 19

  • tons.

  • So all the world's known gold reserves could be laid out on a football pitch in a layer

  • only a meter or so high.

  • Is 184,000 tons all the gold in the world?

  • Well not really.

  • This is only the gold that has been successfully mined and is accounted for.

  • Estimating how much actually exists on the planet is much trickier.

  • Chemical analysis of rock samples suggests gold makes up on average a few parts per billion

  • of the total mass of the Earth's crust.

  • That means the top kilometer has around a million tons of gold still waiting to be dug

  • up.

  • But the chances of drilling deep enough to get your hands on it, are unlikely, as the

  • cost of excavation would deem the process uneconomical.

  • Bad economics were a bitter lesson for the brilliant German chemist Fritz Haber in the

  • 1920s.

  • After World War One, Germany were ordered to pay between 50 and 132 billion German gold

  • marks to France, Britain, and Russia, as part of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.

  • This was a huge financial blow to the war-torn country.

  • So Haber came up with what he thought was a genius idea by which to extract tiny amounts

  • of gold from seawater.

  • Seawater contains a smorgasbord of elements such as sodium chloride, potassium, and magnesium,

  • and even uranium in trace amounts.

  • Haber believed the gold within the world's oceans could be withdrawn and accumulated,

  • and used to help Germany pay their debt.

  • He estimated that 65 milligrams of gold could be extracted from one metric ton of seawater.

  • Using massive centrifuges and his expertise in electrochemistry, Haber planned to separate

  • the gold from the seawater.

  • A process that would consume massive amounts of energy but if his calculations were correct,

  • then this costly process would pay for itself.

  • But Haber's calculations were not correct and he discovered that the concentrations

  • were much lower than he had originally estimated.

  • Each liter of seawater contained just 13 billionths of a gram of gold.

  • Though we know what the banks hold in reserve, getting an exact number on the amount of gold

  • that's in the world is not easy with personal reserves, jewelry, and more recently in nanotechnology

  • where gold is increasingly being used in medicine, engineering, and environmental management

  • in very small amounts.

  • Gold has traditionally been considered a good investment as it maintains a stable value.

  • Will the price of gold keep rising?

  • The talk online seems to suggest that 2018 will be a good year, but what do you think?

  • Let us know in the comments.

  • Also be sure to check out our other video Most painful things a human can experience.

  • Thanks for watching, and as always, don't forget to like, share and subscribe.

A single ounce of gold is roughly the size of a sugar cube and currently sells for nearly

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How Much Gold Is There In The World?

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