By Peter Boehringer, Founder
German Precious Metals Society
As it often has done before, Germany's Bundesbank has released news at Christmastime to avoid critical examination and discussion, this time news about its repatriation of the nation's gold reserves.
The repatriated tonnage volume reported -- "approximately 200 tonnes," bringing the total of gold repatriated to approximately 1,580 tonnes or 47 percent of Germany's gold reserves -- is OK, not spectacular. And this month there was far more important news about Germany's gold, though it was overlooked.
The important news came December 21 from the major German news agency, DPA-AFX, and most likely was written by the Bundesbank itself for DPA-AFX. The news agency published a German-language news brief that was uncritically republished by most German newspapers and magazines without anyone recognizing its political, economic, and historical sensitivity.
The news item said: "... in den 1950er und 1960er Jahren wuchs der deutsche Goldschatz rasant. Denn. ... Bundesrepublik [hatte] dank des Exports viele Dollar, die bei der US-Zentralbank gegen Goldforderungen eingetauscht werden konnten."
In English: "Germany's gold hoard grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s. Thanks to its export surplus, the Federal Republic amassed many dollars that could be exchanged at the U.S. central bank against gold claims."
The news brief's term was "gold claims" -- not "physical gold bars," which both the Bundesbank and the U.S. Federal Reserve contend have constituted the German gold reserves held in the United States.
We have the official text from DPA-AFX from December 21 containing the cited sentence, which was published without change by at least 20 major news organizations by the next day. As an example, here's the item in the German news magazine Der Spiegel:
We as yet have no proof that Bundesbank itself wrote this sentence. (DPA-AFX would have that proof.) But it would be unusual if a mere apprentice at the news service had fabricated the term.
So it is reasonable if we now consider nearly official what gold "conspiracy theorists" have been assuming for decades. That is, the German gold reserves supposedly stored abroad and especially at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York most likely never existed in physical form since the 1960s. Rather the German gold supposedly stored abroad most likely has been only a matter of accounting book entries.
Of course the Bundesbank is unlikely to admit this. Otherwise its tale of its melting gold bars stored untouched at the New York Fed for more than 50 years would have been in vain.
For years now the German Precious Metal's Society's "Repatriate our Gold" campaign has demanded to see the original German gold bars in the New York, London, and Paris vaults where they supposedly were stored. But neither the Bundesbank nor the New York Fed have ever provided any evidence -- photos, complete bar numbers, videos of the bar melting, etc.
All we ever received were foggy statements with incomplete bar numbers, worthless bar lists, and incomplete "internal audit" reports.
But if Germany's gold bars stored abroad were actually only paper gold claims and book entries, everything that has happened would make perfect sense.
Only now, after years of public pressure, some of the gold seems to be becoming physical in the course of its transmission over the Atlantic Ocean.
Only now does the Federal Reserve seem to "wire" the gold to Europe, where the Bundesbank can buy new gold bars.
Now the Fed and Bundesbank can avoid forever having to display 120,000 bars of German gold from the 1950s and 1960s, most of which likely never existed.
Thank you, DPA-AFX, and thank you, Bundesbank, for some truth after all this time. Thank you for this overdue admission of the Bretton Woods "gold book entry" world of the 1960s.
Thank you for a peek into the obscure world behind the curtains and vaults of central banking, back in the 1960s as well as today.
Unfortunately, the misleading news about our gold continues in Germany.
While Bundesbank director Carl-Ludwig Thiele announced December 24 that the Bundesbank has "repatriated" another 200 tonnes of gold from New York and Paris, details will come only in January, and we still lack transparency in the Bundesbank's own vault in Frankfurt. Here too we have never received a full bar number list -- an "inventory number" list, which we have, is worthless -- have never seen photos or video of the approximately 125,000 bars that supposedly are in Frankfurt now, have never seen a signature by an external auditor who has performed a physical audit on site in the Frankfurt vault.
Our conclusion: Our Repatriate our Gold campaign is satisfied with some material progress both on the physical and information front. Here at the end of 2016, Germany now has about 47 percent (1,580 tonnes) of its gold in Frankfurt.
But we remain unsatisfied with the evidence given by the Bundesbank to support its claim that "all bars are in Frankfurt physically and ownership is exclusive -- that is, no multiple owners of individual bars, no fractional gold banking."
And the DPA-AFX news item indicating that the German gold held at the New York Fed was just paper gold, just book entries, prompts us again to urge the Bundesbank to repatriate not just half our gold, the Bundesbank's official objective since 2013, but all of it.
A golden currency reserve has to be on a country's own soil without counterparty risk, especially when our new currency, the euro, is being rescued every day with billions in guarantees and illegal bond purchases by the European Central Bank and seems to be approaching the natural end of its unnatural existence as a supranational currency.