[This article was featured earlier this year in the Gold Forecaster & Silver Forecaster.] On 19th May 2014, the European Central Bank and 20 other European central banks announced the signing of the fourth Central Bank Gold Agreement. This agreement, which applies as of 27 September 2014, will last for five years and the signatories have stated that they currently do not have any plans to sell significant amounts of gold.
Collectively, at the end of 2013, central banks held around 30,500 tonnes of gold, which is approximately one-fifth of all the gold ever mined. Moreover, these holdings are highly concentrated in the advanced economies of Western Europe and North America, a statement that their gold reserves remained an important reserve asset, a statement made in each of the four agreements since then.
After 29 years of implied threats that gold was moving away from being an important reserve asset and the potential sales of central bank gold the gold price had fallen to $275 down from $850 in 1985. But the sales that were seen were so small that with hindsight they were seen as only token gestures. Today the developed world’s central banks continue to hold around 80% or more of the gold they held in 1970.
It only became clear subsequently that the real purpose behind these sales [from 1975] were to reinforce the establishment of the U. S. dollar as ‘real money’ and the removal of gold as such. The U. S. government would brook no competition from gold, but continued to hold gold [as money ‘in extremis’] in ‘back-up’.
Then in 1999 the euro was to be launched. It too needed to ensure that Europeans, who had a long tradition of trusting gold over currencies, would not reject the euro in favor of gold and turn to gold and its potentially rising price. So it was decided that while gold was to be retained as an important reserve asset, its price had to be restrained for some time, while Europeans were made to accept the euro as a reliable, functioning money in their daily lives.
To that end, major European central banks signed the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA) in 1999, limiting the amount of gold that signatories can collectively sell in any one year. There have since been two further agreements, in 2004 and 2009. By the time you receive this, the fourth Central Bank Gold Agreement will be in operation. It begins on the 27th September. Here is the statement on the Agreement from the signatories:
This post was published at GoldSeek on 9 October 2014.