Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Das Rheingold - The Funeral of Siegfried?
Germany, the economic "powerhouse" of Europe, is experiencing a crisis of confidence; so much so that in order to assuage some of the more extreme doubters, the Bundesbank audited its gold held in Frankfurt (lest people doubt that it had been sold off) and even allowed MPs to visit it to check for themselves.
So far so wunderbar!
Unfortunately, Germany also holds gold deposits abroad. The FT reports that Suddeutsche estimates about 1500 tonnes are held by the Fed, and about 800 tonnes by the central banks of England and France. The total value being approximately €133BN.
The German court of auditors has, not unreasonably, demanded regular audits of Germany's gold reserves abroad.
Fair enough, and perfectly reasonable, were it not for one "small" problem.
The last audits in New York were in 1979/80, and since then whilst the Bundesbank has been allowed into vault it has not been allowed to open the boxes in which the gold is allegedly stored.
As we all know markets are driven sentiment, and sentiment is affected by fear and doubt. Unless a full audit is conducted in the near future, the fear and doubt will grow to a critical mass and Siegfried may well meet his end.
Rumour has it that the US gold reserves in Fort Knox haven't been audited either, maybe the US needs to do the same as Germany and lance the boil of doubt?