Thursday, January 31, 2008
The USA owns 261.5 million ounces of gold, according to the latest statement about its forex reserves. This figure has not changed in many years and raises the suspicions of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee GATA which demands a public audit of the US gold hoard in Fort Knox and other vaults.
The last independent audit was half a century ago and GATA doubts that the USA has not sold a single gold bar while many other Western central banks will have dumped 4,100 tons of their safest asset within 10 years by September 2009 when the central bank gold sales agreement will expire.
GATA is alerted by the fact that the US Treasury has extended the definition of item #4 in the weekly statement on forex reserves from "gold" to "gold (including gold deposits and, if appropriate, gold swapped)" since May 2007 and claims that the USA has been part of what it calls a gold price suppression scheme.
In a full-page ad appearing in the Jan 31 issue of the Wall Street Journal GATA lists several statements from officials and a Barrick executive that back up their claim that the US has been a major gold seller in the younger past.
GATA now requests from the Treasury under the Freedom if Information Act to shine a light on what amounts of gold have been exactly swapped or discreetly sold, citing former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who told congress in July 1998, "that central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise."
The USA values its gold reserves at $42.22 per ounce. The total value of $11.041 billion represents only a fraction of the actual value of $241.9 billion when today's gold price of $925 is applied.
An official revaluation would mean that the USA/Fed acknowledges the long term damage of even low inflation.
Federal Reserve Notes (FRN's), the constitutionally disputed currency of the USA, have lost 95% of their value in 95 years. All unbacked fiat currencies have been falling victim to a total devaluation in the last 300 years.
GATA is not alone with its claims that the gold market is influenced by central banks. French investment bank Cheuvreux had come out with a recommendation to start hoarding gold in February 2006, citing manipulation by central banks and claiming that they had already sold 10-15,000 tons of their offical total hoard of some 30,000 tons. Find their key points in the second half of this post or download the full report here (PDF).
US Mint Online Shop Is Closed Most of the Time
Not that I think the situation is that precarious, but as a coin collector I notice that the US Mint online shop has not filled orders for gold and platinum coins since more than a month. Some items like the new platinum collectors anniversayr coins were first scheduled to be shipped by January 26.
Now this and some silver coins are expected to be shipped after February 12. Six weeks no coins with mostly very low coinage for collectors. All gold coins are not available until further notice. The only exception is the 1/10th ounce gold Eagle from 2007 whose shipping is preliminarily set to begin on February 12. This is a bit strange. Does the mint want to cash in on the precious metals bull market or are the supply bottlenecks? The USA has to buy silver every year for its mint program since the national silver reserve was sold in the last century.