Foreign-exchange reserves, also called Forex reserves, are, in a strict sense, only foreign-currency deposits held by nationals and monetary authorities. However, in popular usage and in the list below, it also includes gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserve position because this total figure, which is usually more accurately termed as official reserves or international reserves or official international reserves, is more readily available and also arguably more meaningful.
These foreign-currency deposits are the financial assets of the central banks and monetary authorities that are held in different reserve currencies (e.g. the U.S. Dollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, the Chinese Yuan, the Russian Ruble, the Swiss Franc and the Pound Sterling) and which are used to back its liabilities (e.g. the local currency issued and the various bank reserves deposited with the Central bank by the government or financial institutions). Before the end of the gold standard, gold was the preferred reserve currency. Some nations are converting foreign-exchange reserves into sovereign wealth funds, which can rival foreign-exchange reserves in size.
The list below is mostly based on the latest available IMF data, and while most nations report in U.S. dollars, a few nations in Eastern Europe report solely in Euros and some others report in their respective currencies. And since all the figures below are in U.S dollar equivalents, exchange rate fluctuations can have a significant impact on these figures.