During and after World War II, every major developed country amassed as much physical gold as they could. It stabilized currencies and signaled independence.
But with the end of the gold standard in 1971, most countries began to sell off their reserves.
So much so that in 1999, an agreement was formed to limit the amount of gold that central banks could sell. Fast forward to today, and Canada's central bank owns ZERO gold.
Despite the agreement, most countries continued to shed their gold reserves as fast as possible.
That is until a few years ago, when a handful of countries reversed course. Central Banks started buying gold with fury, and they haven't let up since.
In the final quarter of 2018, central banks purchased more gold than in any other quarter on record.
By the end of the year, central banks collectively held around 1.064 billion ounces of gold (equivalent to 33,200 tons).
That's about one-fifth of all the gold ever mined.