In 2012 the Bundesbank found itself at the center of a storm when the German Federal Court of Auditors called on the central bank to physically take stock of its gold holdings outside the country as they had never been assessed. The Bundesbank opted not to accede to the auditors' request and do a stock take on its gold, noting that there were "no doubts about the integrity, reputation and safety of these foreign depositories.”
This response proved to be ill-judged as it only served to fuel speculation over the safety of German gold and even questions about whether it exists at all.
In response to the backlash, the Bundesbank announced in January 2013 that they would begin repatriating gold from vaults in Paris and New York. A year later there was another change of heart following the federal election which resulted in the Free Democratic Party, which was in favor of full repatriation, being dropped from Angela Merkel's government. Budget spokesman for Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc declared "the Americans are taking good care of our gold."
That might have been that, if not for the tenacity of campaigners such as Peter Boehringer, whose "repatriate our gold" blog continued to seek answers on how much gold there was in New York. He was particularly concerned that the Bundesbank claimed to have a full list of all its gold holdings but was refusing to publish it due to security reasons.
Well, this morning Germany's central bank appears to have had yet another change of heart and has published on its website the full list of all its gold holdings and where they are located.
It is very detailed, listing the location, inventory number, weight and fineness of every single bar.
It is also very, very long. 2,302 pages long, to be precise.
Perhaps the Bundesbank has learned a lesson here and realized that if it had just complied with the wishes of the Federal Court of Auditors back in 2012 it could have avoided this mess. Or perhaps it has just become tired of people asking and decided to give the doubters enough data to keep them busy for a very, very long time.