Figure of the month: 10 m3

News (Advertising) Arnulf Hinkel, Finanzjournalist – 01.08.2019

© Umicore

When Deutsche Börse Commodities published its semi-annual report in early July 2019, the company had every reason to celebrate: the gold holdings physically backing the Xetra-Gold bearer note had risen to 194.3 tonnes – an increase of 13 tonnes since early 2019 and an all-time-high for Xetra-Gold. Had it not been for one person kindly pointing it out to us, the fact that the day was also an anniversary of a very special kind would have gone unnoticed.


Just shy of €8 bn. contained within in the smallest of spaces

According to the current gold price (as of 26 July 2019), the Xetra-Gold holdings are worth some €7.95 bn. How much space does that sum in gold take up? Not much, because gold is known to be very heavy. Which takes us to the Xetra-Gold figure of the month, hidden in plain sight: the new record gold holdings take up a number worthy of an anniversary – that is, almost exactly 10 cubic metres.

Gold is one of the heaviest materials on earth

By definition, water has a density of 1.0 g/cm3 at a temperature of 0.0 degrees, oak wood has a density of 0.8 g/cm3, and hard coal a density of 1.3g/cm3. Of course, concrete has a higher density at 1.8 g/cm3, and window glass, with a density often underestimated, is 2.5 g/cm3. Heavy metals such as iron steel at 7.7 g/cm3 and cast iron at 7.9 g/cm3 have a considerably higher density. Gold exceeds all these numbers by far with a density of 19.3 g/cm3. Only four substances are heavier: rhenium, platinum, iridium and osmium. Relate the specific density of gold to the weight of Deutsche Börse Commodities' gold holdings, and the result is exactly 10.056 m3. It really is quite simple. All you have to do is come up with the idea – which is why we would like to extend a big thanks to our esteemed colleague Dr Carsten Schäfer, who did exactly that!

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