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First Poll Shows 'Yes' Side has Upper Hand Ahead Of Swiss Gold Referendum

By Neils Christensen, of Kitco News
Wednesday October 22, 2014 11:00 AM

(Kitco News) - A slim majority of Swiss citizens said they would vote yes to force the Swiss National Bank to increase and hold on to their gold reserves, according to the country’s first opinion poll.

On Tuesday, 20 Minuten, Switzerland’s biggest daily newspaper, released the results of its online survey. According to the poll, which was conducted on Oct. 15 and had more than 13,000 respondents, 45% to 39% said they would support the “Save Our Gold” initiative. However, according to media reports, the survey also showed a high number of undecided voters.

At the end of November, Swiss citizens will go to the polls to vote on three areas: whether or not the Swiss National Bank should increase its gold reserves to 20%, that the central bank should stop selling its precious metals and that all its gold should be held within the country.

Although Switzerland’s first opinion poll regarding the Nov. 30 referendum was positive, some analysts are hesitant to declare a clear victory for the “yes” side.

“The online polling methods – it was not a pre-selected panel – may introduce biases into the results, but the large sample size and mapping to representative demographics by political scientists at University College London and University of Zürich suggest that the poll cannot be dismissed,” wrote analysts at Barclays in a research note published late Tuesday.

Barclays added that even if the referendum does win the popular vote, the initiative still has to be passed by the majority of 26 Swiss Cantons – the different regions in Switzerland. The analysts said because of the government’s and central bank’s opposition to the gold initiative, it is unlikely to break this “insurmountable barrier.”

Ronald-Peter Stoeferle, fund manager at Liechtenstein-based Incrementum AG, and author of the In Gold We Trust report, said that he was surprised that the first opinion poll was so positive; however, he warned that there is still more than a month before the official vote.

“I would not overestimate these numbers. It was a positive surprise but it is still early,” he said.

Stoeferle added that the gold initiative is doing its job as more people throughout the country are discussing the role of the central bank and the state of Switzerland’s economy.

Stoeferle agreed with Barclays that the supporters of the referendum face a difficult opposition. The government and Swiss National Bank have been urging people to vote against the referendum, saying that it would impede the central bank’s monetary policy.

In a research note released earlier this month, analysts at UBS said that if the referendum passed, the SNB would have to purchase about 1,500 tons of gold over the next five years. Currency analysts added that it would cost the central between $67 and $83 billion.

Currently, according to data compiled by the World Gold Council, Switzerland hold 1,040 metric tons of gold, about 7.8% of its foreign reserves.

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By Neils Christensen of Kitco News; nchristensen@kitco.com



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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