Gold. It’s one thing Germany isn’t short of. But the country’s mammoth supplies of bullion, built up during years of post-war growth, have recently presented it with a problem: what to do with them.
Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, owns 3,384 tons of gold, the second largest reserves in the world behind the United States. The pile is currently worth about $130 billion.
Two-thirds of the bars have historically been held in foreign countries, mostly at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, but also in London and Paris. The United States has traditionally offered a secure home for gold reserves, and splitting deposits up lowers the risk of theft.
But in the past couple of years, some critics have suggested that Germany’s gold may no longer be safe abroad. Their fears, which many dismiss as borderline conspiracy theories, were heightened after a court in 2012 ordered the Bundesbank to carry out regular inspections of its New York reserves to ensure it was the same gold that was originally deposited.