Germany is transferring nearly 700 tons of gold bars worth $36 billion from Paris and New York to its vaults in Frankfurt, according to an article from The Associated Press.
The move is part of an effort by Germany’s central bank to bring much of its gold home after keeping large reserves outside the country for safekeeping during the Cold War, the article says.
Shipping so much gold, however, could be a serious security headache. The high-stakes, high-security plan is to move the metal – 374 tons kept in vaults in Paris and 300 tons stored at the New York Federal Reserve Bank – to the Bundesbank in Germany’s financial center over the next eight years.
The central bank will not disclose how the estimated 50,000 bars are being moved or how it intends to keep the shipments safe, AP reports.
The Bundesbank, which also brought home roughly 850 tons of gold from London between 1998 and 2001, is insuring the transports.
Once the shipment is complete, Frankfurt will hold half of Germany’s 3,400 tons of reserve gold – currently worth about $183 billion – with New York retaining 37 percent and London holding 13 percent so the gold can be closer to foreign currency markets, according to the article.
The decision to bring more of the gold back to Germany follows criticism last year from Germany’s independent Federal Auditors’ Office, which concluded that the central bank failed to properly oversee its reserves, also suggesting that the bank carry out regular inspections of gold stored abroad, AP reports.