ICBC Standard Bank is buying Barclays’ London precious metals vault, giving the Chinese bank the capacity to store gold worth more than US$80bn in the secret location.
The vault is one of the largest in Europe, with a capacity to hold 2,000 tonnes of gold, silver, platinum and palladium. It has been operational since 2012.
ICBC Standard Bank said on Monday it has signed an agreement to buy the vaulting business and transfer the associated contracts, subject to consent. The deal is expected to complete in July.
Leung Hai-ming told the portal that China’s central bank took advantage of the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program in 2013, when the price of gold fell by 27%. The bank bought in over 1,000 tonnes of gold, representing almost one third of the world’s 3,756 tonnes last year.
There is reportedly less than 180,000 tonnes of gold reserves left, and only 20% of that remaining gold is tradable. This means that the People’s Bank of China will likely keep hold of the gold, limiting the gold trading volume — a concern for both the US government and Wall Street traders. Continue reading
A lot of gold bugs think the price is being manipulated somehow, or that there’s some divergence between what’s going on in “paper” gold (gold prices that are tied to ETFs) and what’s going on in physical gold (people buying ingots or jewelery).
Randall W. Forsyth at Barron’s fans the flames of goldbug conspiracy theorists a bit this weekend, arguing that there have been suspicious sales in gold seen on the exchanges (probably driven by the ETFs).
These improbable moves have made gold bugs suspicious, which isn’t unusual. Folks who own gold do so because they don’t trust the status quo, especially when it comes to government-issued paper money. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get you. They point to bursts of selling on Friday, April 12, which resulted in prices plunging by more than 5%, and to dumping that resumed the following Monday in Asia, early in the day when markets are illiquid. That culminated in a 9% collapse by the time the New York market had settled. But a seller who wanted to unload a large position at the optimal price would have done precisely the opposite—liquidate as discreetly as possible. Instead, sellers dumped the equivalent of more than 300 tons of the metal in staccato-like blasts during those sessions. Continue reading