For decades, almost half of Germany's gold has been stored deep below the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Now, with the euro crisis swirling, German politicians are asking their central bankers to take stock of the reserves. Some even say that the gold should be shipped home.
Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann wanted to personally convince
Peter Gauweiler that the German gold was still where it should be. Early
this summer, the head of Germany's central bank took the obstinate
politician from the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), a party
that is a member of the government coalition in Berlin, and a number of
his colleagues into the Bundesbank's inner sanctum: the gold vault.
There, 6,000 gold bars are stacked on industrial-strength shelves in a
purpose-built building in Frankfurt. An additional 76,000 bars of
bullion are stored in four safe boxes, in sealed containers.
But even this personal inspection wasn't enough to reassure the
visiting member of parliament -- on the contrary: "The Bundesbank
monitors its domestic gold in an exemplary fashion," Gauweiler says,
"and this makes it all the more incomprehensible that the bank doesn't
look after its reserves abroad."