(9 October 2020) During periods of high volatility (hello, coronavirus!) governments, investors, businesses, and households alike typically seek out safe assets to protect their savings. In the absence of a magical currency impervious to the volatility of recessions, the search for stability usual returns to none other than the modern day gold standard. For governments, especially in the period since the Great Recession, this translates into more aggressive and intentional accumulation of gold within their international reserves.

Setting aside the economic implications of a new gold standard, we sought to estimate countries' 'readiness' to convert currency in circulation into physical gold, which is the fundamental principle of a gold standard, by creating a Gold Standard 2.0 Readiness Index. The Index for mid 2020 shows that among the world's largest economies only Russia is more or less ready to fully implement a gold standard, needing to reduce the amount of currency in circulation by just 10% to be able to convert all of its currency in circulation into physical gold.

  • Implementation of gold standard in the Eurozone would require reducing currency in circulation by more than double, while China, India, and the United States would need a 9-fold decrease in currency in circulation.
  • Among the largest economies, Australia is an outlier and least prepared to convert to a gold standard. Australia's currency in circulation is more than 35 times the value of its official gold holdings.

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