Germany plans to repatriate tens of thousands of gold bars worth approximately 36 billion U.S. dollars. The gold is currently stored in the United States and France.
Last year, Germany’s Federal Auditors’ Office criticized its central bank for failing to properly oversee its gold.
In response, Germany’s central bank said on Wednesday that it will retrieve all 374 tons of the bullion it currently keeps in Paris. It said that the gold will be back inside its vaults in Frankfurt by 2020.
The Bundesbank said it will also repatriate another 300 tons of gold currently being stored at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
The eight-year process will bring about 19 percent of Germany’s gold reserves back to the Fatherland. Germany holds 3,400 tons of gold reserves—the most of any country, after the United States.
When the process is complete, Frankfurt will hold half of Germany’s gold. New York will retain 37 percent, and London will store 13 percent.
Berlin is probably only beginning to repossess its gold reserves. The Bundesbank’s announcement indicates that German leaders believe the global economic crisis may soon intensify.
On January 15, the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard said that the move represents “an extraordinary breakdown in trust between leading central banks.” Evans-Pritchard compared Germany’s actions to what happened in the 1960s, when the postwar currency system fell apart and France withdrew its gold from the United States.
Precious metals analyst Jim Sinclair said that the Bundesbank announcement may herald the end of the global fiat dollar system. Sinclair said that France’s actions in the ’60s caused American financial leaders to panic. “History will look back on this salvo as being the beginning of the end of the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of choice,” he said.