For years the amount of gold held abroad by the Dutch Central Bank (after this named DNB) was only to guess. Nout Wellink (former president of DNB from 1997-2011) never answered any question regarding this topic. But with the new president Klaas Knot just several months in office things have changed. During an interview with Nieuwsuur last January he stated that about 67 ton was stored in Amsterdam. Better translated as "I thought it was about 67 tonnes". Link (in Dutch)
With total holdings at 612,5 tonnes, this leaves 90% of our national gold stored abroad. And as the Ministry of Finance replied before; it is stored in London, Ottawa and New York. Link (in Dutch)
In this post my intention is to discover what made Mr Knot make this statement. As Mr Wellink had his reasons to remain in silence, so has Mr Knot his reasons to be open. Will this eventually return our gold?
The first question that comes up is why our gold is mostly stored in New York and London. DNB is clear. When they want to sell some gold, it is easier to keep it close to the place where the gold is sold. And that DNB has sold a lot of gold can we see in this picture below. Notice (again) that although the weight in tonnes has lowered, the total value remained the same, or increased a bit.
In this, it might be interesting to look at the next chart. In this remarkable chart we can see the estimated total gold amount, and the amount in the hands of the central banks.
What we see here is that the percentage of the gold held by the central banks stays about the same until roughly World War 2. After that, the total amount of gold held by those banks is barely moving. But as the total amount steadily increases, the percentage of central bank holdings is lowering as we speak. We can conclude that there is a clear shift here from public to private hands regarding gold possession. As we know; he who has the gold, makes the rules.
With this in mind it could be Mr Knots' purpose to purely get the focus on gold. In my opinion the gold stored overseas is never going to come back. This has several reasons.
1. Probably a great part, or everything of this gold has been sold into the markets.
So in both situations the gold will not return.
Probably there is a lot of gold held in private hands already in the Netherlands. When we look to Germany, France and Italy (numbers available) there is more gold in private hands than stored in their central banks. With this average there is probably more than 1000 tonnes already privately held in the Netherlands. When it comes down to answer my own question will the Dutch gold ever come home? My conviction is it will. Not in the way you probably first thought, but by the people. But this situation of buying us a ticket at these prices won't last forever. Actually it can end any time. Stop puzzling and running around in circles. Ask yourself the question: " is there a good reason for you NOT owning gold?"