Merryn Somerset Webb: On Sunday, the population of Switzerland will decide whether they want their central bank – the Swiss National Bank (SNB) – to abide by the following rules.
It would be prevented from selling any of its gold reserves. It would have to store all those gold reserves actually in Switzerland (at the moment only about 70% is there). And it would have to make sure that at least 20% of its assets are held in gold.
Right now less than 8% of the SNB’s assets are held in gold. So raising that to 20% would mean the SNB would have to either sell some of its foreign currency reserves (to increase the proportion of its reserves held on gold), or buy a large amount of gold in pretty short order.
It would be highly unlikely to go for the former option, because this would lead the Swiss franc to strengthen, and kick off a nasty deflationary crisis as a result. (One of the reasons that the percentage of the SNB’s assets held in gold has fallen as low as 8% is because Switzerland has been frantically printing francs and using them to buy other currencies in an effort to prevent the franc from rising.)
The upshot is that if Switzerland votes ‘yes’, the SNB will buy gold over a five-year period. The gold price is likely to jump as a result – by 18%, suggests the Bank of America…MORE (moneyweek.com)
Sophie Jane Evans: A gold engagement ring from the 17th Century has been unearthed by a pensioner with a metal detector – more than 300 years after it was lost.
Tom Ross, 69, was sweeping his metal detector over a ploughed farmer’s field near Newtownabbey in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, when he stumbled across the item.
The rare ‘posy’ ring, which dates back to the late 1600s and is 85 per cent gold, bears the Old English inscription ‘I noght on gift bot gifer’, or ‘Look not on the gift, but the giver’.
Also known as a ‘betrothal’ ring, it pre-dates the custom of proposing with an engagement ring, but essentially served the same purpose.
Men and women exchanged the items from the 1500s onwards to symbolise their future commitment to each other…MORE (DailyMail.co.uk)
Michael Alexander: An amateur metal detecting enthusiast from Fife has discovered a remarkable haul of extremely rare Bronze Age treasure.
Steve Moodie, 44, of Newburgh, discovered six 3,000-year-old pure gold children’s bracelets just inches below a farmer’s stubble field in Gloucestershire.
Mr Moodie, who is known as “Big Steve”, made the remarkable discovery last Saturday morning while participating in a metal detecting rally at Lydney Rugby Club in the Forest of Dean.
The self-employed bric-a-brac salesman, who has been metal detecting for around 11 years, at first thought he had discovered a can but soon learned he had unearthed one of the biggest hauls of Bronze Age artefacts ever found anywhere in the country…MORE (TheCourier.co.uk)
Mark O’Byrne: There are just 3 days left until the“Save Our Swiss Gold” referendum this Sunday. On November 30, voters in Switzerland will head to the polls to decide whether the Swiss National Bank (SNB) should back the Swiss franc with gold by increasing its gold holdings to 20% – up from current levels of 7%.
The conservative Swiss People’s party proposed the initiative, called “Save Our Swiss Gold”, with the intention of boosting the security and financial and monetary independence of Switzerland in these times of financial uncertainty. They believe that a 20% gold holding will protect the Swiss people from currency debasement, currency devaluation and an international monetary crisis.
In the case of a “yes” vote, gold prices are likely to surge. Analysts do not believe a yes vote is possible. However, analysts have got the mood of the people wrong in many referendums both in Switzerland and throughout Europe in recent years.
We believe that the vote will be very close – much closer than many analysts suggest. After a massive, very well funded and highly coordinated campaign by the banking and political establishment in Switzerland, the polls show that the no side is in the lead…MORE (GoldCore.com)
In a few days the Swiss people will go to the polls to decide whether the Swiss central bank is to be required to hold 20% of its reserves in the form of gold. Polls show that the gold requirement is favored by the less well off and opposed by wealthy Swiss invested in stocks. http://snbchf.com/gold/swiss-gold-referendum-latest-news/ These poll results provide new insight into the real reason for Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank.
First, let’s examine the reasons for these class-based poll results. The view in Switzerland is that a gold backed Swiss franc would be more valuable, and a more valuable franc would increase the purchasing power of wage earners, thus reducing their living costs. For the wealthy stock owners, a stronger franc would reduce Swiss exports, and less exports would reduce stock prices and the wealth of the wealthy.
The vote is clearly a vote about income shares between the rich and the poor. The Swiss establishment opposes the gold-backed franc, as does Washington.
A few years ago the Swiss government, after experiencing a strong rise in the exchange value of the Swiss franc as a result of dollar and euro inflows seeking safety in the Swiss franc, decided to expand the Swiss money supply in line with the foreign currency inflows in order to stop the rise of the franc. The liquidity supplied by the central bank creating new francs has stopped the rise of the franc and supports exports and stock prices. As a vote in favor of a gold backed franc is not in the interest of the elite, it is unclear that the vote will be honest.
What does this tell us about the Federal Reserve’s policy of Quantitative Easing, which is an euphemism for printing an enormous amount of new dollars?
The official reason for QE is the Keynesian Phillips Curve claim that economic growth requires mild inflation of 2-3%…MORE (PaulCraigRoberts.org)
Mark O’Byrne: The Dutch central bank said Friday it is repatriating some of its gold reserves from the U.S., making it the latest central bank in Europe to address public concerns about the safety of its gold in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis.
As the debate regarding whether or not Switzerland should keep the bulk of its gold reserves at home on Swiss soil reaches it’s climax – the referendum takes place on Sunday – it is telling that the Dutch announced on Friday that they have just secretly repatriated 122 tonnes of their sovereign gold reserves from New York back to Amsterdam.
The gold, worth $5 billion at today’s prices, represents 20% of the Netherlands total reserves. It now keeps 31% of its reserves in Amsterdam. Another 31% is believed to be in New York, with the remainder spread between Ottawa and London – the same locations where the bulk of Swiss gold is purported to be stored.
The trend towards gold repatriation began with Hugo Chavez bringing Venezuelan gold back to Caracas in 2011. It has been followed by similar moves by other large gold owning nations and central banks, most notably, Germany…MORE (Gold-Eagle.com)