Why Is Germany Demanding 300 Tons of Gold from the U.S. and 374 Tons from France?
The German’s are demanding that the U.S. return all of the 374 tons of gold held by the Bank of France, and 300 tons of the 1500 tons of bullion held by the New York Federal Reserve.
Some say that Germany is only demanding repatriation of its gold due to internal political pressures, and that no other countries will do so.
But Pimco co-CEO El Erian says:
In the first instance, it could translate into pressures on other countries to also repatriate part of their gold holdings. After all, if you can safely store your gold at home — a big if for some countries — no government would wish to be seen as one of the last to outsource all of this activity to foreign central banks.
As we noted last November:
Romania has demanded for many years that Russia return its gold.
Last year, Venezuela demanded the return of 90 tons of gold from the Bank of England.
As Zero Hedge notes (quoting Bloomberg):
Ecuador’s government wants the nation’s banks to repatriate about one third of their foreign holdings to support national growth, the head of the country’s tax agency said.
Carlos Carrasco, director of the tax agency known as the SRI, said today that Ecuador’s lenders could repatriate about $1.7 billion and still fulfill obligations to international clients. Carrasco spoke at a congressional hearing in Quito on a government proposal to raise taxes on banks to finance cash subsidies to the South American nation’s poor.
Four members of the Swiss Parliament want Switzerland to reclaim its gold.
Some people in the Netherlands want their gold back as well.
(Forbes notes that Iran and Libya have recently repatriated their gold as well).
The Telegraph’s lead economics writer – Ambrose Evans Pritchard – argues that the German repatriation demand shows that we’re switching to a de facto gold standard:
Central banks around the world bought more bullion last year in terms of tonnage than at any time in almost half a century.
They added a net 536 tonnes in 2012 as they diversified fresh reserves away from the four fiat suspects: dollar, euro, sterling, and yen.
The Washington Accord, where Britain, Spain, Holland, South Africa, Switzerland, and others sold a chunk of their gold each year, already seems another era – the Gordon Brown era, you might call it.
That was the illusionary period when investors thought the euro would take its place as the twin pillar of a new G2 condominium alongside the dollar. That hope has faded. Central bank holdings of euro bonds have fallen back to 26pc, where they were almost a decade ago.
Neither the euro nor the dollar can inspire full confidence, although for different reasons. EMU is a dysfunctional construct, covering two incompatible economies, prone to lurching from crisis to crisis, without a unified treasury to back it up. The dollar stands on a pyramid of debt. We all know that this debt will be inflated away over time – for better or worse. The only real disagreement is over the speed.