Gold reserves in the Philippines aren't the second largest in the world, contrary to what a recent Facebook video claims.
And while “Outsider,” the month-old Facebook page behind the video, correctly reported the Philippines has the biggest gold reserves among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), its status update created the wrong impression that this was a new development.
In reality, the Philippines has held the largest reserves in the region since the mid-1990s.
Gold reserves refer to the gold held by a national central bank to support the value of its currency.
Created only on May 1, Outsider said in its May 22 video the Philippines’ gold reserves stood at 196 metric tons. With that volume, it said:
Sa Pilipinas daw matatagpuan ang pangalawa sa pinamalaking gold reserves sa buong mundo (The biggest gold reserves in the world can be found in the Philippines).
In its status update for the five-and-a-half-minute video, the page said:
Mas malaki na ang gold reserves ng Pilipinas kumpara sa Singapore, Thailand at iba pang ASEAN member states (The gold reserves in the Philippines are now bigger than Singapore, Thailand and other ASEAN member states).
Contrary to Outsider’s claim, the Philippines, which has 197.9 metric tons of gold reserves valued at $8.016 billion, ranked 26th in the world last year and 25th as of March, according to the World Gold Council.
The World Gold Council gets its data from the International Financial Statistics, a principal statistical dataset of the International Monetary Fund.
Ranked second is Germany whose gold reserves of 3,364.2 metric tons are 17 times that of the Philippines.
The United States holds the world’s biggest gold reserves, 8,133.5 metric tons. The IMF is third with 2,814 metric tons.
From 1950 to 1990, either Indonesia or Thailand had the biggest gold reserves in Southeast Asia, historical data show.
In 1991, however, the Philippines overtook the two countries, accumulating 105 metric tons that year. It has consistently led other ASEAN members since 1995, with gold reserves peaking to 274.4 metric tons in the first quarter of 2003.
This means it is not only now that the Philippines has gold reserves bigger than its Southeast Asian neighbors, as Outsider implies.
Data on Singapore’s gold reserves became available in the third quarter of 2000; it had 127.4 metric tons. By then, the Philippines’ gold reserves had risen to 217.4 metric tons.
Although Outsider has a small following, its video was posted several times in “DT,” a pro-Duterte Facebook group with more one million followers.
DT was created on Dec. 29, 2009 originally as “Inday Sara Duterte.” The group was renamed “Duterte Today” on May 20, 2016, shortly after Rodrigo Duterte was declared winner in the presidential election. It was renamed DT only last May 4, three days after Outsider was created.
DT. (2020, June 4). Usapang gold deposits ng Pilipinas! [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/DTpilipinas/posts/10157720366031379
Green, T. (1999). Central Bank gold reserves - an historical perspective since 1845. Retrieved from https://www.gold.org/download/file/7668/Rs23.pdf
Outsider. (2020, May 22). Pilipinas, hawak ang pinakamaraming ginto sa ASEAN Region. Mas malaki na ang gold reserves ng Pilipinas kumpara sa Singapore, Thailand at iba pang ASEAN member states [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://web.facebook.com/outsiderphl/videos/609790852956901/
World Gold Council. (2020, June 5). Monthly central bank statistics. Retrieved from https://www.gold.org/goldhub/data/monthly-central-bank-statistics
World Gold Council. (2020, June). Latest world official gold reserves. Retrieved from https://www.gold.org/download/file/7739/world_official_gold_holdings_as_of_May2020_ifs.xlsx
World Gold Council. (2020, March). Quarterly times series on world official gold reserves since 2000. Retrieved from https://www.gold.org/download/file/8052/quarterly_gold_and_fx_reserves_q1-2020.xlsx