German federal auditors have requested the Bundesbank checks Germany’s gold reserves, a major part of which has been stored at banks abroad since the Cold War.
Germany’s gold bars, stored in the United States, Britain and France "have never been physically checked by the Bundesbank itself, or other independent auditors, regarding their authenticity or weight," reveals a report prepared by the Federal Auditors' Office. Instead, the Bundesbank relies on a "written confirmation by the storage sites."
Germany has placed as much as some 3,400 tons of gold worth an estimated $190 billion at current values in the vaults of the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of France and the Bank of England since the late 1940s. The reason was to secure the country’s gold reserves in a case of a possible war with the Soviet bloc. Currently only about 30% of Germany’s gold reserves are kept in Germany, at the facilities of Frankfurt-based Bundesbank.
Since then, the Bundesbank has seen no reason to check its gold reserves. "There is no doubt about the integrity of the foreign storage sites in this regard," it said in a statement.
Concerns about Germany’s gold reserves arose this year after a group of German federal lawmakers wanted to check gold bars stored at the Banque de France in Paris. But they were turned away by local officials who said there were no facilities to visit the vaults, Deutsche Welle reported.
German worries about the situation with its gold reserves reflect the worries of the German politicians that the country has enough gold reserves to resist the spreading eurozone crisis.
The Bundesbank has reportedly decided to ship 150 tons of gold from the New York Federal Reserve to Germany, according to German daily Bild. After returning to Germany the gold will be melted down to test the overall purity of each consignment before being re-cast into standard gold bars.