Koos Jansen
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Koos Jansen
Posted on 3 Dec 2014 by

Eurosystem Increasing Allocated Official Gold Reserves

The Eurosystem is expressing an increasing interest in gold.

One of the commenters on this blog, Arend Lammertink, notified me of official gold reserves data disclosed on the websites of the Dutch central bank (DNB) and the German central bank (Bundesbank). At DNB we can find a sheet that shows the Dutch central bank started separating its gold holdings from one category (gold, and gold receivables), to more detailed categories in May 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 2.29.55 PM
Source: DNB

The row goudbaren means ‘gold bullion’ and niet ge-alloceerde goudrekeningen means ‘unallocated gold accounts’. The white rows represent the value, the weight is disclosed in millions of fine troy ounces; The Netherlands holds 612.5 tonnes in total, fully allocated and nothing is leased since 2008 (same as Germany).

Over at the site of the Bundesbank the same information is published from 18 of the 28 member states of the European Union that use the euro currency (The Eurosystem). The Bundesbank (BuBa) publishes the fine troy ounces of the official gold reserves of the Eurosystem in ‘Gold bullion’ and ‘Unallocated gold accounts’. If we add up both categories the outcome for all countries equals the Official Gold Reserves disclosed by the World Gold Council. Concluding ‘Gold bullion’ is allocated (and obviously unallocated is unallocated).

From BuBa:

The application of the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) is binding for EU member states by virtue of a regulation adopted by the European Commission. Moreover, the reporting requirements of Eurosystem NCBs vis-à-vis the European Central Bank are stipulated in a guideline.

From the guideline Changes in the methodology and classifications of the balance of payments and the international investment position:  

With regard to reserve assets, gold transactions and positions will in the future be subdivided into gold bullion, which includes gold bars and allocated gold accounts, and gold receivables, to which no specific gold holdings are assigned.

The unallocated gold accounts of the Eurosystem relate to gold to which no specific gold holdings are assigned.

Eurosystem Official Gold Reserves Allocation, October 2014
The ECB holds 22 % (109 tonnes) of its gold reserves in unallocated accounts.

The data demonstrates most of the Eurosystem official gold reserves are allocated and since January 2014 (which is as far as the more detailed data goes back) the unallocated gold reserves are declining as we can see in the next chart.

Eurosystem Total Official Gold Reserves (10,787 tonnes)

Unfortunately we do not know what happened prior to 2014.

Note, allocated does not mean the gold is located on own soil, but is does mean the gold is assigned to specific gold holdings, including bar numbers, wether stored on own soil or stored abroad. Unallocated gold relates to gold held without a claim on specified bar numbers, often these unallocated accounts are used for easy trading.

Two good descriptions of unallocated gold accounts from the LBMA:

To take the analogy of simple currency bank accounts, precious metal bars, of any form, may be drawn down, or allocated, from an unallocated account in just the same way that bank notes with specific unique numbers may be drawn out of a bank checking account.

As you might know bank accounts are fractionally backed.

UNALLOCATED ACCOUNT: An account where specific bars are not set aside and the customer has a general entitlement to the metal. This is the most convenient, cheapest and most commonly used method of holding metal. The holder is an unsecured creditor.

The fact the Eurosystem discloses the ratio between its allocated and unallocated gold and, more important, the fact that the portion of allocated gold is far greater and increasing, tells me the Eurosystem is allocating as much gold as they can. Add to that the Germans are currently repatriating over 600 tonnes of their allocated gold from the US and France, and The Netherlands has just repatriated 123 tonnes of its allocated gold from the US. Will the rest of the Eurosystem follow to repatriate their gold from abroad?

The Eurosystem is surely up to something with its gold. This can only be seen in advance of a reform of the international monetary system. As Jean-Claude Trichet, former president of the European Central Bank, stated on a financial forum in Beijing at the end of October 2014:

The global economy and global finance is at the turning point in a way… New rules have been discussed not only inside the advanced economies, but with all emerging economies, including the most important emerging economies, namely, China.

On behalf of China the General Manager of the Precious Metals Department at ICBC (the largest bank in China and the world), Zhou Ming, stated on the LBMA Forum in Singapore in June 2014:

  1. International gold prices will return to rational levels after shooting high.
  2. With the status of the US dollar as the international reserve currency is shaky, a new global currency setup is being conceived.
  3. Uncertain changes will happen to gold’s traditional dollar-pricing so the US dollar’s influence on gold pricing needs to be re-evaluated.
  4. With the rise of Asian economies, China and India will continue to be the world’s pillars of physical gold demand.
  5. Gold has not only moved from West to East but will continue to move to the East.

So, China and Europe are embracing gold prior to the replacement of the US dollar as the world reserve currency. I truly wonder what will replace the US dollar.

Koos Jansen
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  • JMJM

    koos- this is very interesting given some commentators are claiming the Ned repatriation was commenced to begin a leasing program. i tried the bundesbank site but could not find the data to corroborate it. do you have a link? thx!

  • JMJM

    fantastic. i think one could surmise that the NED repatriation away from ny fed has made it more difficult for ny fed to lease out gold from their unallocated pools which has led to severity in negative gofo rates. could you imagine if a large fund were to demand physical delivery on comex?

    • KoosJansen

      The COMEX is not the place to buy gold.

  • JMJM

    i know that but traders over here dont! my point is given the paper to physically settled trading ratio it wouldnt take a large delivery notice on comex to show how tight the system is

  • B.

    Hey Koos – interesting data. Any thoughts on the LBMA no longer reporting the GOFO (starting January)? Is this info connected in some way?

    • KoosJansen


  • Roacheforque

    In my opinion, there will no longer be a “world reserve currency” in terms of a fiat currency (debt) being held as a common or universal (global) wealth reserve asset. Gold will replace the dollar in that function, and currencies will continue to be used much like they are today, but without being “hoarded” like a wealth reserve asset (a.k.a systemic dirty float). In this regard, perhaps the latest post at FOFOA you may find worth a read.

    • KoosJansen

      Could be!

    • Sven

      A lot of time has passed since those posts were written. Where are these guys now?

      Now the talk is of the SDR. Even Rickards says they will try this before it fails and gold moves front and center.

      FOFOA’s prognostications maybe fully 20 to 40 years away. Not that I’m happy about that but we have to deal with reality.

  • jwr_47

    Hi, Koos,
    Thank you for this great overview, which certainly raises confidence in governmental management – if the gold pools’ inventories at least for the Netherlands and Germany are regularly checked. If the central banks publish their exact inventory numbers there should be no reason for secrecies of gold leases, returns, sales and acquirements.

  • Jerry G

    It does seem most of the rest of the world is preparing for a reset. I keep waiting for the ratification by US Congress to fund and allow the restructure at the IMF that the rest of the G20 as I understand have already done and waiting for the the US to pass this before the end of the year.

    The DNB statement you list in a response to JMJM’s comment about equalizing gold with other important gold holding nations is likely the minedset with most Eurozone Central Banks and didn’t Draghi say the ECB might buy some gold but used the excuse of promoting more inflation but it would also perhaps help balance the gold assets with member nations.

    If Eurozone countries are satisfied with those levels where does that put Russia in this game of gold held assets as they approach something over 27% or so of the Ruble.

    Then of course there is China that officially has made a considerable push for it’s citizens to buy gold. You and others have produced official statements from Chinese officials that indicate the desire to acquire a quantity of gold to an equalty to what is needed to elevate the Yuan to the Euro and USD. Couldn’t they have done the accumulation easier without the competition of the demand from their citizens? Not to say it isn’t good that they are getting both, gold into the citizens hands and the PBOC, while we here in the US see numerous escalating anti gold articles everywhere.

    I have to wonder the if western media lapdog is told to reduce the western sentiment toward gold allowing the certain nations to catchup with their gold holdings, by reducing demand or are they brainwashing western American investors to prepare them for resistance against the IMF restructure and ultimatly an SDR type of reset that includes gold bringing with it the discipline current monetary policy lacks. I’m affraid the Keynesian psycopaths will push us into a WWIII or at least extreme opposition to a golden SDR before they would allow gold to take some of their power away.

    • gunners113

      Why would western countries and western mediacompnaies want to see China “catch up”? What could be the possible rationale for this?

      • DameEdnasPossum

        To defer the transition away from USD so the ‘smart money’ can convert their dollars into real, physical assets and to (hopefully) make the transition smoother/ more controlled.

        The alternative is China dropping their stash of T bills onto the open market and crashing the USD and bond market.

        They hope that they have bought China’s vote by permitting them to build gold reserves and in doing so, prevent them from taking drastic action.

  • Frank Knopers

    Interesting article, keep up the good work!

  • Dark Horse

    Hi Koos,

    Thanks again for the great work you do!

    Not sure how much you have looked into this but the IMF and gold is quite an untold part of the puzzle.

    1. Certain central banks repatriating or buying large volumes of gold


    2. With the FED/BOJ/ECB/BofE’s balance sheets being stretched, the natural movement (in order to keep the fiat based ponzi scheme going) is the IMF

    3. The US has till 19 December 2014 to pass the IMF 2010 reforms through congress…or the IMF and G20 will proceed with Plan B


    4. Alot of people dont realise how the IMF gets its money (and how member countries get its votes)

    Below is a key extract for bullionstar subscribers to read and understand

    Where does the IMF get part of its money? Gold and the IMF

    The IMF’s gold holdings amount to about 90.5 million troy ounces (2,814.1 metric tons), making the IMF the third largest official holder of gold in the world. However, the IMF’s Articles of Agreement strictly limit the use of this gold. If approved by an 85 percent majority of voting power of member countries, the IMF may sell or accept gold as payment by member countries but it is prohibited from buying gold or engaging in other gold transactions.

    In December 2010, the IMF sold 403.3 metric tons of gold­—about one-eighth of its holdings The limited gold sale was conducted under strong safeguards to avoid market disruption and all gold sales were at market prices, including direct sales to official holders.

    SDR 4.4 billion of profits from the sale of its gold were used to establish an endowment as part of the IMF’s new income model, designed to put the institution’s finances on a sustainable footing.A proportion of the gold sales is used to subsidize financing for low-income countries.


    IMF: We don’t buy gold. But will accept it and sell it for profit!

    So in summary,
    -Gold can be given by CB’s to the IMF to count toward their votes.
    -This means the likes of Holland, China, Russia etc can deliver physical gold to the IMF’s vaults.
    -This gold increases the IMF reserves and allows them to lend more money (ie to requify the FED with SDRs in exchange for the illiquid MBS and USTs) or to sell it on the market and keep the proceeds and profit as reserves.

    This last point makes me think that gold could be released from the CB suppression in order to increase the value of the IMF reserves, and resulting windfall profit when it is dumped on the market to a soon to be panicing public (if the USD system crashes)

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