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Swiss Gold Bullion Repatriation Campaign Nears Signatures Target

January 25, 2013 - A public campaign to bring Switzerland to repatriate all of its gold bullion currently held abroad is close a target of 100,000 signatures as a part of an attempt to trigger a referendum on the issue, accord to Swiss press reports.

The Gold Initiative has called for an end to sales of gold bullion by the Swiss national Bank, the storage of Swiss gold in Switzerland, and for gold bullion to account for at least one-fifth of the domestic central bank’s assets.

Figures published by the World Gold Council indicates Switzerland currently holds 1040.1 tonnes of gold, 11 percent of its total gold reserves, meaning 89 percent of the country’s gold is currently held overseas.

The move follows the recent announcement the Bundesbank of Germany is repatriating the country’s gold that has been stored in New York and Paris. The Bundesbank’s decision followed a string of Federal Court decisions that cast doubt on the central bank’s fulfilling its responsibilities for the gold. The Federal Court of Auditors ordered an audit of Germany’s foreign gold holdings, but the shadow on the Bundesbank, one of the most trusted institutions in German society, called for further steps.

The Bundesbank then announced plans to withdraw its entire 374-ton store of gold bullion from the Bank of France in Paris and 300 tons of the 1,500 tons currently held by the New York Federal Reserve. Germany possesses the world’s second-largest bullion reserves at 270,000 gold bars worth $177.5 billion, an amount second only to the gold held by the U.S.

As a part of its reasoning for the move to repatriation, the Bundesbank has said the German gold stockpile was relocated abroad during the Cold War amid fears of a possible Soviet invasion, but the concerns over a Soviet invasion no longer warrant keeping the gold overseas. About 30 percent of Germany’s gold reserves are currently being held in the country at the facilities of the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank.

In addition to repatriation, the Gold Initiative in Switzerland is suggesting that the Swiss National Bank could use its large reserves of euros to buy gold, an asset perceived as fundamentally sound in an uncertain geopolitical market.

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Jonathan Monroe

Senior Staff Writer - Gold-Bullion.org

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