Bundesbank Recalls Half of All Foreign Bullion, Puts on Exhibition to Showcase to the Public
The Bundesbank has exhibited its gold to the public for the first time after deciding to repatriate half of its reserves in 2013 from vaults in New York, Paris, and London. The exhibition by Germany’s Central Bank features gold ingots and old coins that the country has had stored since World War II.
In order to keep its gold from being stolen by the Soviet Union, Germany moved its gold to foreign vaults. A total of 98% of its gold bars and coins remained outside the country until the Bundesbank decided to recall the country’s reserves.
The move to repatriate the gold in 2013 was due to mounting pressures from German politicians, and the public, to get the reserves back during the Eurozone debt crisis. Whenever an economic slump happens, it is common that countries and investors turn to gold to cover their assets.
“We’re doing this to show citizens that the gold bars are here, to show transparency,” said Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele in an interview he gave while standing beside the gold bars and coins. “Especially during the years of the financial and sovereign debt crisis, the Bundesbank was confronted with the desire for detailed information about the gold. It even went so far that some questioned whether the gold holdings at home and abroad were real.”
Germany was able to recall 3,400 metric tonnes of its precious yellow metal reserves. Based on FXCM’s detailed gold price chart, the total value of the repatriated gold is approximately €117 billion ($144 billion) at the time of this article. An infographic posted here on Of Wealth shows that Germany has the second largest national gold reserves. The U.S. has the most gold holdings in the world, with more than 8,000 metric tonnes.
In 2012, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann wanted to convince the then leader of Christian Social Union party Peter Gauweiler that the gold reserves of Germany were still where they should be. However, the inspections of gold reserves in Bundesbank weren’t enough to convince Gauweiler, as well as other politicians, of the country’s gold status. The constant questioning of Gauweiler and demands for the government to constantly check the country’s reserves led to the 2013 repatriation of Germany’s gold.
In 2013, the Bundesbank revealed its plan to bring home a total of 270,000 ingots. The repatriation is on schedule, with 1,710 metric tons of gold now within the vaults of Germany. About 1,200 tonnes of gold still remains in New York, and 430 tonnes are kept in London.
In 2017 the Bundesbank finished recalling all of its gold from Paris, stating that since both countries use the Euro currency, having gold reserves in France would be redundant.
The country’s gold exhibit in the Money Museum will run until September 2018.