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Germany to Retrieve Gold from U.S. Fed

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted January 17, 2013

An interesting move came from Germany as the nation’s Bundesbank expressed wishes to retrieve part of its gold reserves stored in central banks in the U.S. and France.

In the post-World War II period, Germany quickly accumulated large reserves of gold due to national economic expansion, including strong exports to the U.S. When Germany signed on to the Bretton Woods agreement in 1952, most of its dollar claims were converted to gold.

But Germany wanted to evade Soviet malice during the Cold War, and so the nation kept its gold reserves where they were. Now, the Bundesbank is set to inspect the bars and retrieve them.

The German Federal Court of Auditors announced back in October last year that the stored gold reserves at foreign central banks needed to be audited and inspected. Accordingly, the Bundesbank hopes to retrieve some 300 tons of gold from the New York Federal Reserve and 374 tons of German gold present at the Banque de France – its entire French store.

Germany hopes to hold about half of its 3,400 tons of gold, worth nearly 138 billion euros, right in Frankfurt by 2020. Currently, Frankfurt only has a third of this—the rest is spread over the U.S., France, and the U.K.

Per Bloomberg, it seems the Bundesbank has simply created more space for storage after it joined the euro currency group, and would now like to rectify a historical oversight.

Interestingly, though, a White House petition from the people of the U.S. seeks a transparent audit of the Treasury, including its claimed 8,100 tons of gold and all swaps, loans, and sales.

The petition needs just about 5,000 additional signatures in order to compel a government response. And the timing is curious—it comes right alongside the move from Germany. Are people losing trust in the U.S. government, perhaps?