Lars Schall: Bundesbank again refuses to answer questions on Germany's gold
By Lars Schall
Wednesday, April 5, 2012
On April 3 I wrote the following inquiry to the Press Office of Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany's central bank.
"Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
"My name is Lars Schall. I am a freelance journalist for finance. May I ask you to help in a matter in which the Bank of England, the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Exchange Stabilization Fund, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and the New York Federal Reserve were not cooperative in any way?
"See 'Germany Should End the Secrecy and Bring Its Gold Home,' Monday, October 10, 2011:
"The contact with the press office of the New York Fed was especially unsastisfying (January 3, 2012):
"The questions I have for you are:
"-- Does the Bundesbank have swap arrangements with any of those mentioned parties related to the German gold reserve overseas?
... Dispatch continues below ...
Prophecy Platinum (TSXV: NKL) and Ursa Major Minerals
Sign Combination Agreement
Company Press Release
Friday, March 2, 2012
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Platinum Corp. (TSX-V: NKL, OTC-QX: PNIKF, Frankfurt: P94P) and Ursa Major Minerals Inc. have signed a binding letter of agreement for a business combination through a proposed all-share transaction. In doing so Prophecy and Ursa have acted at arm's length and the transaction has been negotiated at arm's length.
Prophecy will issue one common share in exchange for every 25 outstanding common shares of Ursa. Ursa options and warrants will be exchanged for options and warrants of Prophecy on an agreed schedule.
Prophecy's offer represents a value of about $0.15 per each common share of Ursa based on Prophecy's share price of $3.70 as at March 1, representing a premium of 130 percent to Ursa's March 1 closing price of $0.065.
Prophecy is to subscribe for $1 million common shares of Ursa by way of private placement financing at $0.06 per share, subject to regulatory approval. Upon placement completion, John Lee and Greg Hall, current Prophecy directors, will be appointed to Ursa's board.
Prophecy thus will become a mid-tier resource company with a robust and diversified pipeline of platinum nickel projects, including:
-- The fully permitted open-pit Shakespeare PGM-Ni-Cu mine close to Sudbury, Ontario, infrastructure with near-term production capabilities.
-- The flagship Wellgreen (Yukon) PGM-Ni-Cu project with more than 10 million ounces of Pt-Pd-Au inferred resource. Drilling is under way and a preliminary economic assessment study is pending.
-- Manitoba's Lynn Lake Ni-Cu project with more than 262 million pounds Ni and 138 million pounds Cu measured and indicated.
For the complete announcement, please visit Prophecy Platinum's Internet site here:
"-- Regarding the swap arrangement between the ESF and the Bundesbank that was mentioned during the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in January 1995 (see Page 125 at
http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/FOMC19950201meeting.p...), is this strictly a swap arrangement related to foreign currency / exchange?
"Yesterday, April 2, I published an interview headlined "Peter Schiff -- There Will be a Lot of Pain":
"I've asked Mr. Schiff:
"Roughly 66 percent of the German gold reserves are located at the New York Fed. If you would be the head of the German central bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank, would you repatriate this gold?
"Schiff replied: 'I would not hold my gold in the United States. I would be afraid that the U.S. might decide to seize it for an emergency. So if I was Germany, I would ask for all of my gold to be returned from the Fed, and I would buy as much gold as I could in the open market.'
"Q: Why should Germany buy more gold in the open market?
"Schiff: Just to have more gold. Germany should get rid of its dollar reserves and other currency reserves. That would be a much better way to go."
"Moreover in the past I've asked James G. Rickards, author of the recent book 'Currency Wars':
"'A huge chunk of the foreign gold reserves located at the New York Fed belongs to Germany. What are your thoughts related to the German gold reserve in custody at the New York Fed? Let's assume you were the head of the Deutsche Bundesbank with the best interests of the German people in mind, and assuming that we're heading to a system of currencies backed by gold. What would you do in that respect?'
"Rickards: It depends on the German gold policy. If Germany wants to leave monetary policy to the United States and is willing to accept whatever policy plans the U.S. comes up with, Germany should probably leave the gold where it is. That is a question of confidence. But if Germany wants to pursue its own policies or perhaps have a more gold-backed euro or maybe even go back to a deutsche mark, then they should bring the gold to Germany and store it in secure vaults under control of the Bundesbank. For as long as it stays in the United States, the gold is vulnerable to confiscation. So you really don't have the control over your own monetary policy as long as your gold is in other hands. During the Cold War, given the Russian threat, I am sure it made sense to have the German gold in New York. But today I would be concerned more with the Federal Reserve's printing presses than with Russian tanks, and thus I would like to have the gold in Frankfurt.
"And consider this exchange between the financial journalist Nomi Prins and me:
"'Officially, Germany has the second largest gold reserve in the world. Roughly 66 percent of the gold is located in the vaults of the New York Fed. Do you think that Germany should relocate its gold reserve from New York to Frankfurt just to be on the safe side?'
"Prins: I wouldn't keep 66 per cent of my gold at the Fed. [Laughs.] Yes. If I was Germany, and taking note of what is going on in the global economy, in the U.S. economy, and how the Fed is artificially propping things up, I would want to pull out my gold assets. I would want tangible physical assets in my possession. I don't see why the German central bank wouldn't want to do that. It just doesn't make sense to me.
"Can you comment on this, please, since it's of your concern?
"I'm copying this inquiry to Chris Powell at GATA, James G. Rickards, and Max Keiser. Could you send your answer -- if there is one -- to them as well, please?
"Thank you very much.
"P.S.: Please see this PDF:
A few hours later I was informed by the Bundesbank press staff that my inquiry had been assigned reference number 2012/005186. The final answer came soon after.
"Dear Mr Schall:
"Thank you for your query. In general we do not comment on third-party articles and opinions. Furthermore, we kindly refer to our answer to you from 1 December 2010, which is repeated hereunder.
"'The Deutsche Bundesbank keeps a large part of its gold holdings in its own vaults in Germany, while some of its gold is also stored with the central banks located at major gold trading centers. This has historical and market-related reasons, the gold having been transferred to the Bundesbank at these trading centres.
"'The Bundesbank applies the principles of safety, cost efficiency, and liquidity to the management of foreign reserves in general, and to that of gold reserves. Generally, changing depositories cannot be ruled out in this respect.
"'In managing foreign reserves, the Bundesbank fulfils one of its mandated tasks as an integral part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). We trust you will understand that we are not able to divulge any further information regarding this activity. Particularly with respect to the confidential nature of information about where gold holdings are kept, we are unable to go into any greater detail concerning exact locations and the quantities stored at each of these. Likewise, owing to the strategic nature of the activity, we are not at liberty to provide you with more detailed information about gold transactions.'
"For additional information you may want to see our annual report for 2011, Page 125:
"With kind regards,
* * *
So the Deutsche Bundesbank brushed off my questions one more time. Compare this reply with "Bundesbank Joins Fed in Demanding Secrecy for Gold Swaps," December 1, 2010:
So the Bundesbank is repeating what was back then largely a recycling of old phrases that had little to do with my questions.
With regards to my third question and the opinions of Peter Schiff, James G. Rickards, and Nomi Prins, I hope that this new campaign will have much more success:
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Sona Discovers Potential High-Grade Gold Mineralization
at Blackdome in British Columbia -- 13.6g over 1.5 Meters
From a Company Press Release
November 22, 2011
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With its latest surface diamond drilling program at its 100-percent-owned, formerly producing Blackdome gold mine in southern British Columbia, Sona Resources Corp. has discovered a potentially high-grade gold-mineralized area, with one hole intersecting 13.6 grams of gold in 1.5 meters of core drilling.
"We intersected a promising new mineralized zone, and we feel optimistic about the assay results," says Sona's president and CEO, John P. Thompson. "We have undertaken an aggressive exploration program that has tested a number of target zones. Our discovery of this new gold-bearing structure is significant, and it represents a positive development for the company."
Sona aims to bring its permitted Blackdome mill back into production over the next year and a half, at a rate of 200 tonnes per day, with feed from the formerly producing Blackdome mine and the nearby Elizabeth gold deposit property. A positive preliminary economic assessment by Micon International Ltd., based on a gold price of $950 per ounce over eight years, has estimated a cash cost of $208 per tonne milled, or $686 per gold ounce recovered.
For the company's complete press release, please visit: