What can we learn from latest German gold repatriation?

Lawrence Williams

German gold repatriation continued in 2014 at a higher pace – but the overall slow speed leaves many questions unanswered and again raises arguments for auditing the U.S. Fed.  But be careful what you wish for.  There could be unintended consequences of so doing.

To read original article on Mineweb.com, click here.

Germany’s Bundesbank has just made great play of the fact that it managed to repatriate some 85 tonnes of gold from New York in 2014 and 35 tonnes from Paris.  Technically, as the Bundesbank points out this is very much on schedule with its promise to bring back into German vaults some 300 tonnes held in New York and 374 tonnes from France by 2020 – but still the question has to be asked why the agreed schedule is so slow.  If Germany truly wants its gold back why would it have to take so long to achieve this?  One assumes the French portion could be just loaded onto a few trucks and shipped cross border, while the U.S. part likewise flown across the Atlantic on a few 747 freighters.

It’s almost certain that the song and dance the Bundesbank is making about the latest repatriation figures is as a direct result of the media furore over the minuscule amounts repatriated in 2013 – only 5 tonnes from New York and 32 tonnes from Paris.  That was true fodder for the theorists, who abound in the gold sector, who seriously believe that the amounts of gold held in many of the big Central Bank vaults – notably those in the U.S., the U.K. and France – have been leased out and title to any that is remaining may belong elsewhere.

Thus the Bundesbank again, has also emphasised in its statement the provenance of the gold returned.  Mark O’Byrne’s www.Goldcore.com website reported this statement thus: “The Bundesbank assures the identity and authenticity of German gold reserves throughout the transfer process – from when they are removed from warehouses abroad until they are stored in Frankfurt am Main. As soon as the gold was removed from the warehouse locations abroad, Bundesbank employees cross-checked the lists of bars belonging to the Bundesbank against the information on the bars removed. Finally, once they arrived in Frankfurt am Main, all the transferred gold bars were thoroughly and exhaustively inspected and verified by the Bundesbank. When all the inspections had been concluded, no irregularities came to light with regard to the authenticity, fineness and weight of the bars.”

Given that one would assume that this would be the case anyway, why the Bundesbank found it necessary to issue this particular codicil to its statement, rather contrary to its usual taciturn approach, suggests that it is indeed worried about continued reaction to the relatively slow return of the nation’s gold and its quality.  To misquote and adapt a Shakespearian quote – The Buba doth protest too much, methinks.

Adding fuel to the doubters’ flames, of course, is the fact – also noted in the Gold Core article – that long time observers will note that Germany’s initial request for its gold from New York was declined. They were then denied the opportunity to even view their own gold on grounds of “security.”

There have long been calls in the U.S. to audit the Fed and its gold holdings which have been adamantly resisted by that body and its supporters in the U.S. Congress who are perhaps scared of what such an audit may turn up given the last audit was over 50 years ago.  If there are serious discrepancies in the amounts of gold the Fed says it has and reality then this could be yet another hugely destabilising factor in the global view of U.S. economic integrity and could create a disastrous run on the Fed by other nations whose gold reserves are held there, not to mention those financial institutions which have leased gold from central banks and may be called upon to replace it at very short notice. Central banks of other major gold holding nations which keep a large part of their reserves in the Fed’s vaults may well be complicit it not wanting to rock the boat here

The effects on the gold market of such a run on the Fed could be enormous with prices going through the roof due to the shortage of physical gold in the West (it has all been moving east to countries like China, India and Russia).  This inability to source supplies needed to return the gold owed except at a huge loss would bankrupt many institutions which have leased gold and sold it on and are thus unable to return it and throw the world’s whole banking system and  economy into total chaos – not something that anyone in their right minds would wish for.

As outspoken former U.S. representative and Presidential candidate Ron Paul says “Why is the Fed acting like it has something to hide if it has nothing to fear from an audit?”  You may read Ron Paul’s views on the Fed in an article on Zerohedge.com by clicking this link.

But, of course, if the Fed does have something serious to hide, a truly impartial audit made public would open Pandora’s Box.  Do any of us really want that to happen?  But that suggests that if an audit does take place and it shows up any serious discrepancies, the powers that be will take all measures to suppress any findings, or water the results down sufficiently to ensure it doesn’t rock the economic boat.  Such is government nowadays.  True manipulation of factual data for the greater good!  Be careful what you wish for!

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