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Gold Confiscation a Reality?

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2012 Jan 06, 2012 - 10:19 AM GMT

By: Julian_DW_Phillips

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMany of the leading fund managers in the U.S. and elsewhere are expecting that governments will confiscate their citizen's gold. This will not be for the same reasons used in 1933. It will be to facilitate loans, swaps lower interest rates, and shore up international confidence in the turbulent, stressed paper-currency world in which we live. Each nation issues paper as money, dependent on the trust that nation can engender at home and abroad. But is this going to be sufficient, moving into an ever more turbulent 2012?


Traditional Use of Gold in Reserves

When gold was deemed money in the world under the Gold Standard, money was issued against the stock of gold a nation had -this formed the basis of the money supply. In 1933 as the Depression wreaked damage to the U.S. economy, the government needed to expand the supply of money to the economy, dramatically. The first step was to confiscate their citizen's gold at a price of $20 per ounce. Two years later in 1935, the U.S. government devalued the dollar by 75% to $35 an ounce. This expanded the U.S. money supply by far more than 75% because of the additional gold in government vaults.

As U.S. influence spread abroad after the war, the need for a vast increase in global money supply and, in particular, the number of dollars outside of the U.S. (then limited to the amount of gold in U.S. coffers) the restraint on money supply was unbearable on the U.S., so it eliminated gold from its active role in the money system and replaced it with the USD, tied as it was to the oil price.

Thereafter, gold was relegated to the vaults as an important but passive, reserve asset. Now, we're led to believe that central bankers feel that the amount of gold they should carry is either 3-months' worth of international trade, or between 10 and 15% of total foreign exchange reserves -as though this is all it would take to resolve a crisis. Such formulae test credibility to the limit.

Uses of Gold in the Last Couple of Years in the Monetary System

But in 2011, the use of gold to fund a Eurozone bail-out implied was raised. A draft of the European Commission study on joint Eurobonds is the suggestion that gold could be used as collateral for them. It did not receive more than token recognition; the issue, however, was at least addressed in theory. Its use was not related to the expansion of the money supply -the suggestion did not imply any mobility as money at all. A new role for gold in official uses was starting to get recognition.

In 2010, gold was used by the Bank of International Settlements in currency swaps, giving little-to-no information as to the identity of their clients. Over 500 tonnes of gold was used in the currency / gold swaps. These did not relate to practical money raising, but to gold being used as collateral to facilitate cheaper and larger loans to the banks to provide liquidity where it was drying up. The stories came that gold was being used by commercial banks -who don't hold gold on their balance sheets--but the only place they could get gold from was from central banks. So was it a dire need by commercial banks for liquidity or was it an attempt by central banks to cap the gold price? We might never know...But in 2011 these swaps were reversed, and the gold left the B.I.S. in the second half of the year [2011] gold lease rates dropped heavily into negative territory, telling us that central banks were lending gold again to banks at incredibly cheap rates -this coincided with the fall in the gold price from over $1,900 to current levels.

Irrespective of the reasons why, the most important feature of these actions was that gold came into use in the interbank monetary system yet again. And this happened at a time when European central banks had ceased selling their gold and the rest of the world began to steadily increase their central bank holdings.

Despite its passive role the U.S., Eurozone central banks hold nearly 20,000 tonnes of gold -worth nearly a trillion dollars; however and much to politician's angst, this gold is not available to fund government borrowing; it would contravenes the Maastricht treaty which founded the Eurozone. Gold remains far too important to use in such financing. It will only be used if the very national structure of its money is in danger or in support of making a nation's monetary system function internationally. But bullion could and is being used as collateral.

For prospective investors (no doubt including emerging market governments, sovereign wealth funds, and the like) the appeal comes from the likely hedge that gold would provide against an immediate default. If a country such as Italy were to default, most believe the price of gold (in Euros and in the USD) would skyrocket...

Gold Forecaster regularly covers all fundamental and Technical aspects of the gold price in the weekly newsletter. To subscribe, please visit www.GoldForecaster.com

By Julian D. W. Phillips
Gold-Authentic Money

Copyright 2009 Authentic Money. All Rights Reserved.
Julian Phillips - was receiving his qualifications to join the London Stock Exchange. He was already deeply immersed in the currency turmoil engulfing world in 1970 and the Institutional Gold Markets, and writing for magazines such as "Accountancy" and the "International Currency Review" He still writes for the ICR.

What is Gold-Authentic Money all about ? Our business is GOLD! Whether it be trends, charts, reports or other factors that have bearing on the price of gold, our aim is to enable you to understand and profit from the Gold Market.

Disclaimer - This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Gold-Authentic Money / Julian D. W. Phillips, have based this document on information obtained from sources it believes to be reliable but which it has not independently verified; Gold-Authentic Money / Julian D. W. Phillips make no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Gold-Authentic Money / Julian D. W. Phillips only and are subject to change without notice.

Julian DW Phillips Archive

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Comments

g kaiser
06 Jan 12, 19:59
gold stored by central banks

We have heard for years how all the reserve banks are storing tons of gold. As far as I am concerned, the central banks and in particular the FED have been lying about a lot of things. Why do we just accept that this gold is still there. I think much of it no longer is, in fact I am betting it isn't!.


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