A mineral-rich country, Uzbekistan has a wealth of resources including oil, natural gas, gold, silver and uranium. As well as being a top producer of the precious metal, the country reportedly plans to continue increasing its gold reserves to 430 tonnes by 2024.
However, in July 2020 the country became the world's largest seller of gold as it pinned its hopes of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic on it. In fact, in the first eight months of 2020, Uzbekistan sold $5.8 billion (£4bn) of gold, nearly a billion dollars more than the $4.9 billion (£3.5bn) it sold throughout the whole of 2019. The country then changed tack at the beginning of 2021 and was one of four nations leading a gold purchasing drive that February, despite the continuing trend for central banks to sell up during the COVID-19 crisis.
In the third quarter of 2021, Uzbekistan added 25.5 tonnes to its reserves, the second-largest increase of any country in the world. It followed this up by adding a further 26.44 tonnes to its stock between the first and second quarter of 2022, an additional 26.13 tonnes in the third quarter of 2022, and 5.91 tonnes between the last quarter of 2022 and first quarter of 2023. But the country has apparently U-turned again, selling off 14.62 tonnes in the run-up to May 2023 and another 4 tonnes in quarter two. Its total reserves have dropped from 395.94 at the start of the year to 377.28.