The gold reserve
Like many other central banks, the Riksbank owns gold. The Riksbank’s gold reserve is largely a remnant of the time when the Riksbank was obliged to redeem banknotes and coins for gold. Nowadays, however, gold is a financial asset that, like the foreign exchange reserves, aims to ensure that the Riksbank can carry out its tasks. Among other things, gold can be used to fund liquidity support or make foreign exchange interventions, in other words to purchase kronor with the aim of influencing the exchange rate.
Gold makes the gold and foreign exchange reserves more stable
Gold contributes to counteracting fluctuations in the total value of the gold and foreign exchange reserves, as the value of gold does not normally follow the same pattern as the value of the foreign exchange reserves. Consequently, the combined value of the gold and foreign exchange reserves is more stable than the value of the gold reserve and the foreign exchange reserves separately.
The Riksbank has entered an agreement, the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA), with a number of other central banks. This agreement restricts how much gold the central banks may sell each year. This has been done to avoid sales having undesirable effects on the gold price.
Geographical spread reduces risk
On 31 December 2020, the Riksbank owned 125.7 tons of gold. The market value of the gold was SEK 62,9 billion at that time.
The Riksbank’s gold reserve is stored at different places around the world as there would be too much of a security risk if it was all stored in the same place. The Riksbank's gold reserve is stored by the central banks of the United Kingdom (the Bank of England), Canada (the Bank of Canada), the United States (the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) and Switzerland (the Swiss National Bank), as well as at the Riksbank’s own depot in Sweden.
Almost half of the Riksbank’s gold reserve is stored by the Bank of England in the United Kingdom, where the world's largest commercial gold market is based. Holding it at the Bank of England allows a large part of the Riksbank’s gold to be converted at very short notice, should the need arise.