Germany has joined The Netherlands and Belgium by announcing publicly that it stepped up its repatriation of gold reserves last year. Repatriation is the pulling back of a country’s gold reserves that are being held in other countries.
According to Yahoo News, on Monday the German central bank (Bundesbank) released a statement saying that it has “successfully continued and further stepped up its transfers of gold. In 2014, 120 [metric tons] of gold were transferred to Frankfurt from storage locations abroad: 35 [metric tons] from Paris and 85 [metric tons] from New York.”
The World Gold Council shows that Germany has the second largest gold reserves in the world behind only the United States. Yahoo News reports that “For decades the Bundesbank’s gold holdings have been kept in the treasuries of other central banks – in Paris, London, and New York.”
Germany has been storing gold abroad since the 1950’s in order to keep it out of the reach of East Germany and the Soviet Union. However, the recent growing lack of faith in the euro has led to a movement to repatriate outside gold stores. It is also being reported that some political parties in Germany fear that the gold reserves may have been tampered with.
Bundesbank first announced its gold storage plan in 2013, when it decided to pull back “674 [metric tons] from abroad by 2020 and store half of its gold in its own vaults,” according to Yahoo News.
“Implementation of our new gold storage plan is proceeding smoothly. Operations are running very much according to schedule. We also called on the expertise of the Bank for International Settlements for the spot checks that had to be carried out. As expected, there were no irregularities,” Bundesbank executive board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele said in an interview.
The larger story here is the growing mistrust of the euro. King World News interviewed John Embry who has been in asset management for over 50 years and is the Chief Investment Strategist at Sprott Asset Management LP.
When asked about why Germany and other European countries may have begun to repatriate their gold, he said:
“I’ve seen it suggested that this may be preparatory to these nations starting a northern European currency bloc in case the euro fails. The euro has been imposed on these countries and it hasn’t worked at all. It seems to me that if the northern countries, which are in much more solid shape than the peripherals, decided they were to go it alone, it may be a good idea to have their gold back. So this may very well be part of it.”
This announcement is coming on the heels of a significant gold rally to start 2015. If countries begin to lose faith in currencies, gold prices should continue to spike as investors look for safe-havens.