Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Economy and Finance / Markets: estimates and projections / Articles
The results of the referendum on gold in Switzerland
Material posted: Publication date: 19-01-2015

30 November in Switzerland held a referendum in which the vote was raised several questions, chief of which were gold reserves of the country. The Swiss had to Express their attitude to the initiative "save our Swiss gold", which aims at raising the gold reserves of the country from the current 8% to 20% of all gold reserves, and kept abroad of gold into the country and ban the sale of gold abroad in the future. The results of the referendum, 77% of voters opposed the initiative. The proposal to drastically reduce the number coming to the country of immigrants was also rejected by an overwhelming majority — 74%.

The main question put to held in Switzerland on Sunday, the referendum concerned the gold reserves of the country. The initiative "save our Swiss gold" was put to a referendum right Swiss people's party (SVP). In accordance with the proposal of SVP, the Swiss national Bank (SNB) has within five years to increase the share of gold reserves in gold and foreign currency reserves of the country from the current 8% to 20%, in addition, the Bank would be prohibited from selling gold abroad and he will need to return to the country now stored abroad gold. Now a fifth of the Swiss gold reserves, estimated at 1,04 tons, is stored in the Bank of England, about one third of Canadian Central Bank. Between 2000 and 2008 the SNB sold nearly half of its national gold reserves. Such a policy, according to the author of the initiative, luzi strain from the SVP, is unacceptable: "we Need again to rely on gold, instead of excessive amounts of printing paper money. Our national Bank since November 2011 has acquired an unimaginable amount of money, including billions of euros and dollars."

However, this proposal, which many political analysts immediately called populist, not passed: 77% came to the referendum voted against. Against the initiative acted as the head of the SNB Thomas Jordan, and most Swiss political parties. According to many economists, the replenishment of gold reserves and banning gold sales will lead to so-called concentration risk (i.e. risk related to excessive concentration of investment resources in one area) and will limit the freedom of action of the National Bank. As stated by analyst Carsten Fritsch of Commerzbank, "the availability of reserves, which in case of need it is impossible to sell, is the same thing that their absence. Not care whether the SNB store the gold in Switzerland, scatter him across the world or drown in the lake of Lucerne".

Experts say that the Swiss are very deliberately came to this decision, because if the initiative is passed, the SNB had to buy 1.5 million tons of gold worth 70 billion Swiss francs ($73 billion). This amount, according to Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung, corresponds to 70% of the gold mined worldwide in a year. These would lead to a sharp rise of the Swiss franc, which is disadvantageous for Swiss manufacturers that export their goods abroad. In 2011, the Swiss national Bank declared that will not allow the strength of the Swiss franc to 1.2 francs per Euro, as this level ensures the competitiveness of the exported goods of the country.

This is not the first time that a European country thinks about the return of the gold reserves stored in other countries. Earlier Netherlands back 122 tonnes of gold. In Germany for several years discussing the return of gold reserves from other countries. The government promised that by 2020 from the vaults in London and new York will be refunded the gold in sufficient quantity to ensure that half of all gold reserves of the country were kept in Germany. Germany has the second largest gold reserve in the world — 3,38 thousand tons, the cost is $141 billion, 45% of these reserves are stored in new York. In the German media have repeatedly suggested that the US trade German gold that is stored in the US of German gold reserves were only a part. These rumors fueled, in particular, the fact that the transfer of gold from the US to Germany was very slow, and more or less serious inventory of German stock in us stores just do not been conducted. For 2013 to Germany from USA it returned 5 tons of gold. In the past year to check German gold reserves stored in the U.S., new York came one of the Directors of the Bundesbank Karl-Ludwig Thiele. He descended into the vault, where he demonstrated a few bars of German gold. After that, Mr. Thiele said: "We saw everything I wanted to see. From our side no more questions". This summer, the German authorities stated that in the complete removal of gold from the US there is no need, especially in the United States could regard it as a manifestation of mistrust that would complicate the relations between the two countries.

In addition, the referendum was passed by the extremely sensitive issue of repeated lowering of the limit on entry to Switzerland immigrants. Carried on the vote this question group Ecopop, proposes to limit immigration to 0.2% of the Swiss population per year, which corresponds to 17 thousand people is about 100 thousand people annually in recent years. But 74% of Swiss people were opposed to such drastic measures.

Informed decisions the Swiss at the last referendum denied the statements of skeptics about the fact that the Swiss principle of direct democracy — referendums on the most important issues of development of countries — can complicate the government governing the country and cause a deterioration of relations with other European countries. "The results of the voting on gold and immigrants suggests that the Swiss public holds a balanced and measured approach to decisions on forming foreign policy and wants to create a cause for friction with their neighbors in the EU",— quotes Reuters the Professor of the University of St. Gallen Reto Foellmi.


Tags: Europe , gold

RELATED MATERIALS: Economy and Finance