FRANKFURT — Germany’s central bank is hauling home tens of thousands of gold bars stored in the United States and France, in a high-security operation spread over eight years.
All 374 tons of German gold held in Paris vaults will be moved back to the Bundesbank’s vaults in Frankfurt by 2020, the bank said Wednesday. A further 300 tons of gold stored in New York will also be brought back.
In total, the shipments are worth $36 billion at current market prices and represent about 19 percent of Germany’s gold reserves — the world’s second-largest after the United States’.
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 storing 13 percent.
During the Cold War, Germany kept most of its gold abroad for fear it could fall into the hands of the Soviet Union if the country was invaded. Another reason was that it’s easier to swap the reserves for foreign currency in London, Paris, and New York, where gold is traded.