Austrian Opposition Aims to Bring Back Gold Reserves
The two Austrian opposition parties FPÖ and BZÖ push the Austrian Central Bank (OeNB) to disclose information about the gold reserves. OeNB refuses to do so.
The store location of Austrian gold reserves is still unknown. Only OeNB seems to know the exact amount of gold reserves and the inhabitancy. Most of the Austrian gold reserves are not physical assets, but receivables.
OeNB explained that it is usual to lend gold to banks against low interest rates. In the balance sheet of Central Banks, there is not difference between “real gold” and “gold as receivables”. Officially, the Austrian state has 280 tons of gold, which has a current market value of about € 11.0bn. This corresponds to 60% of the foreign exchange reserves.
OeNB refuses to tell the inhabitancies of Austrian gold reserves. The official statement: “We make gold deals only with well-respected banks against excellent securities and a corresponding coverage. OeNB never had a credit default due to gold deals.”
Also the Ministry of Finance could not give a useful answer to a parliamentary inquiry by the opposition party FPÖ. The Ministy of Finance refers to OeNB´s independence.
What is already known is that the major part is located outside the country. Market insiders say that the Federal Reserve in New York stores foreign gold reserves, another major gold trading center is London.
BZÖ´s chairman Josef Bucher fears that Austria has no access anymore to the gold reserves in case of a severe crisis. Bucher: “Facing the ESM, there must be clarity that our gold reserves are not being used therefore. Bucher added that domestic gold must not be used for “any bankrupt countries or speculative purposes”. Next week, Bucher aims to submit a legal proposal.
The biggest opposition party FPÖ said to support Bucher´s initiative. FPÖ claimed to get information of the store location, the value and the access to the reserves. FPÖ´s head Strache argued that the access of the EU or other institutions must be prevented. No reserves should be sold anymore, he said. The last major sales were observed from 2000 to 2006. In order to reach the “zero deficit”, the former Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser sold about a third of the reserves at comparatively low prices.
OeNB´s reaction to the opposition´s initiative: “It is part of the usual policy of the Central Banks not to communicate details about the gold reserves. Austrians may be tranquillized. The reserves are kept very safe. OeNB, as independent central bank, acts very carefully.”