Europe Continued Gold Repatriation at Faster Rate in 2015
Germany ramped up its gold repatriation project last year, joining other European nations bringing gold home. The trend underscores the importance of holding physical gold within easy access.
Germany’s Bundesbank transferred more than 210 tons of gold back into the country from vaults in Paris and New York last year. According to the Financial Times, with last year’s transfers, Frankfurt now ranks as the largest storage location for the country’s reserves after New York.
In early 2013, the Bundesbank announced a plan to repatriate massive amounts of its physical gold reserves back into Germany. The goal is to have half of its gold back in within the country’s borders by 2020. Germany’s gold reserves are currently the second-largest in the world, with nearly 3,400 metric tons.
Germany began aggressively ramping up its repatriation program in 2014. The German central bank brought home 120 tons of gold that year. Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a member of the executive board of the Bundesbank, said the project was proceeding as planned:
The transfers are proceeding smoothly. We have succeeded in once again significantly increasing the transport volume compared with 2014. This means that operations are running very much according to schedule.”
The 2012 sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone led many Germans to question the safety of the country’s gold reserves. That precipitated a call to bring the gold home. Many analysts also believe the country is preparing for a currency crisis.
Some even speculated that Germany distrusts the United States in particular, with the repatriation announcement coming just months after the Federal Reserve denied Germany’s request to conduct their own physical inspection of the Fed’s gold reserves.
Germany isn’t the only country bringing its gold home. Last December, the Austrian National Bank announced that it brought 15 tons of gold back into the country. Officials unveiled a plan in May 2015 to bring a large portion of its holdings back into its own vaults. By 2020 Austria will maintain 50% of its reserves within the country’s borders.
One of the primary reasons to bring gold home is fear of a currency crisis. Some analysts see the repatriation trend in Europe as a lack of long-term faith in the euro and the dollar. Should the need arise, these countries will have gold on hand to back their own currencies.
Gold repatriation underscores the importance of holding physical gold where you can easily access it. Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and “paper gold” have their place. But true security and stability comes from physical possession of precious metals. That’s exactly why these European countries are bringing their gold home, safe within their own vaults.
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