Clamor about gold reserves prompts leasing disclosure by Austrian central bank

Section:

11:05a ET Friday, November 23, 2012

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Germany's clamor and agitation about the integrity of national gold reserves are spreading into Austria, where two national newspapers headquartered in Vienna, Die Presse and Der Standard, this week raised questions about Austria's national gold and even prompted a response from the country's central bank, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB).

Die Presse's report, in German, is here:

http://diepresse.com/home/wirtschaft/economist/1315818/Reserven_National...

Der Standard's, also in German, is here:

http://derstandard.at/1353206965366/Staatsgold-koennte-verleast-worden-s...

Der Standard also has published what appears to be a report on the issue by the Austria Press Agency, the country's independent press association, which GATA consultant Dimitri Speck has translated into English and is appended. The APA report is notable for its inducing the OeNB to disclose details about its gold leasing, supposedly now down to 16 percent of the Austrian gold reserve, and for recognizing that a fractional-reserve gold banking system may jeopardize the return of leased gold.

Thus there seems to be increasing understanding internationally of GATA's complaint about the Western central bank gold price suppression scheme.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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Yesterday's report from the English-language Austrian Times in Vienna, which appears to have drawn its content from the two newspaper reports cited above and which was dispatched to you --

http://www.gata.org/node/11954

-- quoted the Austrian National Bank as claiming to have earned E300 million from leasing its gold over the last decade. This has seemed extraordinarily high to GATA's brain trust and may be an indication that the bank was leasing everything it had and maybe even gold it didn't have.

In any case your secretary/treasurer today corresponded in some detail with a reporter for the Austria Press Agency who seems interested in pursuing a story about the country's gold reserves. Let's pray for his career and even for his safety.

Sorry for not being clearer and more detailed about all this. While our German friends lately have been performing the most heroic service on behalf of free and transparent markets and limited, accountable government, we are always terribly intimidated by the German language, as was Mark Twain, who wrote that "it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it."

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

16 Percent of National Gold Leased Out

From Der Standard
Vienna, Austria
Thursday, November 22, 2012

http://derstandard.at/1353207010022/Staatsgold-zu-16-Prozent-verleast

According to a newspaper report at the beginning of the last decade up to 80 percent [of Austria's gold reserves] was leased to the bullion banks.

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) has broken a taboo and reported on Thursday that currently only 16 percent of its gold holdings are leased. A spokesman for the central bank confirmed a report of the daily newspaper Die Presse.

According to the newspaper report at the beginning of the last decade up to 80 percent was leased to the bullion banks.

When Ewald Nowotny replaced [central bank] Governor Klaus Liebscher in 2008, probably still about 50 percent of the national gold was leased out.

The question is important insofar as several experts consider the gold market as a fractional-reserve system, in which up to 100 kilograms of gold claims are traded for 1 kilo of the physical precious metal. Should an event similar to a "bank run" take place, the return of leased gold would be at risk. -- APA, November 22, 2012.

* * *

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