The Netherlands seems to have been much more successful in their attempts to repatriate bullion held in New York than the Germans, which has reserves of 3,387 tonnes, second only to the United States.
In January 2013 Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, said it will ship back home all 374 tonnes it had stored with the Banque de France in Paris, as well as 300 tonnes held in Manhattan by the US Federal Reserve, by 2020.
Fast forward two years and Buba, as the Federal Bank of Germany is often called, only managed to bring home a paltry 37 tonnes of gold, a mere 5 tonnes of that came from the US, the rest from Paris.
Then in June the ruling Christian Democratic Party headed by Angela Merkel, seemed to give up on the endeavour altogether, removing a possible irritant in US-German relations.
Perhaps not entirely.
As reported this week by Koos Jansen at BullionStar – one of the best trackers of physical gold flows around the globe – according to Buba, all’s going to plan with Germany’s repatriation plans:
“We are within our plan with our delivery of gold from the Fed and the Banque de France,” BuBa-executive Carl-Ludwig Thiele told the German Press Agency dpa in Frankfurt.
While a much-anticipated Swiss referendum to repatriate the country’s gold, force the central bank to keep 20% of its reserves in bullion and stop all sales were voted down, the French may be next in line.
Last month it emerged that the frontrunner for France’s presidency, Marine Le Pen, has asked the central bank to urgently repatriate its gold reserves and immediately discontinue any gold sales programmes.
In May last year Austria, perhaps unnerved by Germany’s experience with their bullion and mindful of Brown’s Bottom, sent a team of auditors to check on gold held by the Bank of England.
Only 17% of Austria’s 280 tonnes of gold reserves are held inside the European nation with the Bank of England holding the bulk or some 150 tonnes worth more than $6.2 billion.
In November 2011, Venezuela repatriated some 180 tonnes of gold held in vaults in London and elsewhere to store it with the Caracas central bank under orders from late President Hugo Chavez.