Front Matter

Front Matter

M. O'Callaghan
Published Date:
March 1993
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    The Structure and Operation of the World Gold Market

    Gary O’Callaghan


    September 1993

    © 1993 International Monetary Fund

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    O’Callaghan, Gary.

    • The structure and operation of the world gold market / Gary O’Callaghan.

    • p. cm. — (Occasional paper, ISSN 0251-6365; 105)

    • “September 1993.”

    • Includes bibliographical references (p.).

    • ISBN 1-55775-281-8

    • 1. Gold. 2. Gold—Purchasing. I. Title. II. Title: Gold market. III. Series: Occasional paper (International Monetary Fund); no. 105. HG293.028 1993

    • 338.2741—dc20

    • 93-22746

    • CIP

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    I. Introduction

    II. Market Agents and Instruments

    III. Physical Stocks and Flows

    IV. Bullion Markets, Trading, and Price Setting

    V. Paper Markets and Prices

    VI. Concluding Remarks

    Appendix. Note on the Official Reporting of Gold Flows


    Box. Soviet Gold Figures



    The following symbols have been used throughout this paper:

    … to indicate that data are not available;

    — to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;

    – between years or months (e.g., 1991–92 or January-June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

    / between years (e.g., 1991/92) to indicate a crop or fiscal (financial) year.

    “Billion” means a thousand million.

    Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

    The term “country,” as used in this paper, does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states, but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.


    This study, which was prepared while the author was assigned to the Financial Relations division of the Treasurer’s Department of the International Monetary Fund, grew out of work that was developed by Fund staff in connection with the applications for membership in the Fund by Switzerland (a major gold trading center) and the states of the former U.S.S.R. (a major gold-producing area).

    The author is indebted to David Williams and Orlando Roncesvalles for instigating this project and for their encouragement and guidance at all stages of the preparation of the study. Inci Otker made a substantial contribution to the final version of the paper, and the author is extremely grateful for this assistance.

    The author would also like to thank Günter Wittich, Samir Fawzi, Simon Nocera, George Tavlas, Subhash Thakur, and other current and past members of the Financial Relations Division for many useful comments and suggestions. In addition, a number of gold market analysts provided much useful information about the operations of the international gold market. These include Jeffrey Christian, Timothy Green, Philip Klapwijk, George Milling-Stanley, Andy Smith, and Richard Scott-Ram, but none should be held responsible for any remaining errors and omissions.

    Neeraj Rajpal provided excellent research assistance, Clorine La Fargue provided unstinting secretarial support, and Ella Wright provided editorial assistance. Sara Kane of the External Relations Department edited the paper for publication, Emily Chalmers coordinated production, and Alicia Etchebarne-Bourdin, also of the External Relations Department, provided typesetting assistance.

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