Gold strengthens confidence in German central bank

News Arnulf Hinkel – 06.03.2018

At the end of last year, the World Gold Council published an article by Carl-Ludwig Thiele, member of the Bundesbank executive board (the German central bank), on the institution’s transparency campaign. Its aim has been to provide the public with more detailed information about Bundesbank's efforts, thereby strengthening confidence in its stability policy. To achieve this, gold reserves have played a pivotal role.

68 per cent of Bundesbank reserves are pure gold

Bundesbank's reserves, amounting to some 3,400 tonnes of gold to date, were accumulated largely between the 1950s and early 1970s. The reason that, until a few years ago, 70 per cent of Germany's gold reserves were held outside of the country – 45 per cent alone by the Fed in New York – is that gold then was a means to balance the huge current-account surpluses Germany had built up towards countries in the dollar area and within the former European Payments Union during the so-called “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle). In addition to New York, German gold deposits in the respective national currencies were also held in London and Paris. In autumn 2012, Bundesbank launched its transparency campaign by disclosing the locations of the 270,000 gold bars.

Large-scale retrieval operation from 2014 to 2017

Over a period of three years, Bundesbank returned most of its gold reserves held abroad to Frankfurt, where more than 50 per cent of Germany's gold reserves are to be stored by 2020, at the latest. With its extensive campaign, which includes a film about the retrieval operation, Bundesbank has considerably increased transparency in its activities over the past few years. The fact that the campaign has been focussed on gold is due to the high esteem and trust placed in the precious metal. It was therefore an ideal choice as the "ambassador" of Bundesbank's successful transparency campaign.

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