This move by the Bundesbank may trigger a chain reaction, prompting other countries to start repatriating the gold stored in London, New York or Paris. So far, only countries that have a strained relationship with the US have resorted to gold repatriation. Now, Bundesbank will be seen as walking in Hugo Chavez’s footsteps.
If gold repatriation becomes a worldwide trend, it will be obvious that both the US and UK have lost their credibility as gold custodians. For gold markets worldwide, this move may mark a switch from “financial gold” to “physical gold”, but the process is definitely in its early stages. The decision to repatriate the German gold is a big victory for a part of the German press that first forced Bundesbank to admit that 69% of its gold is stored outside Germany. Almost certainly both the German press and at least several German lawmakers will demand a verification procedure for the gold bars returned from New York, just to make sure that Germany doesn’t receive gold-plated tungsten instead of gold. It seems that German decision makers no longer trust their American partners.