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Austrian Central Bank To Repatriate Gold From London; Not Related To Potential Brexit

(Kitco News) - The Austrian Central Bank, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), is the latest to jump into the gold market, releasing plans to repatriate its gold from London.

The central bank released its repatriation plan in its annual report released Thursday. The OeNB’s new gold storage policy said that 50% of its gold reserves will be held in Austria by 2020, up from the current level of 17%.

“Starting from mid-2015, the new storage policy will be gradually implemented in keeping with security and logistical requirements,” the central bank said in the report.

According to the report the OeNB will repatriate most of its gold held with the Bank of England. Currently about 80% of the country’s gold reserves are held in London and that will fall to 30% within the next five years.

At the same time the central bank is also planning to increase its gold reserves stored with the Swiss National Bank to 20% from the current level of 3%.

In the report the OeNB said that holds 280 tonnes of gold in reserve, which has been unchanged since 2007.

OeNB’s repatriation announcement comes at a time of increased attention on Britain and whether the country will remain a member of the European Union. Earlier this month, the Conservative party won a majority in the country’s federal election. During the campaign, Prime Minster David Cameron promised that he would hold a national referendum on whether or not the country will remain a member of the EU.

However, according to Reuters, in a press conference following the release of the OeNB report, Austrian central bank governor Ewald Nowotny, said the policy change is not related to a potential possibility of a British exit from the EU.

He said that the new policy reflects the trend among European central banks, to hold more gold at home.

The list of European central banks wanting repatriate their gold continues to grow. The initiative started in 2013 when the German central bank, announced that it would repatriate a total of 674 tonnes of gold from Paris and New York.

In mid-November, the Dutch central bank said that it had transferred 122.5 tonnes of gold from New York to Amsterdam and in December Luc Coene, governor of Belgium’s central bank, confirmed that the bank is looking at how they can bring their gold reserves back into the country.


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

 

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