41% Of Belgian Central Bank Gold Has Been Lent Out

Tyler Durden's picture

Some very disturbing revelations from CLSA's Chris Wood who in his latest Greed and Fear note discusses an event that may be all to prevalent within the central banking community: the less than overt lending out of central bank gold to "other entities" in return for picking up nickels in front of a steamroller. In this case, the central bank of governmentless Belgium, which had 41% of its gold out at the end of 2010 on loan. Naturally, the lent out gold is being used by some other key entity, potentially to mask its own inventory deficit, in exchange for the paltry sum of 0.3% on the total loan. Wood's conclusion: "This is a reminder that the paper gold market is significantly larger
than the physical market. Just like a run on a bank in a fractional
banking system, GREED & fear suspects it will be very hard to settle
all the paper claims to gold physically in a real scramble for the
metal. This is why in a parabolic spike physical gold is likely to trade
at a significant premium to paper claims
." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

From CLSA's Greed and Fear:

Belgian central bank Vice Governor Francoise Masai reportedly told shareholders that about 41% of the central bank’s 216 metric tons of gold was on loan at the end of last year, and that the central bank earned a 0.3% return on its loans of physical gold to commercial banks last year. There are two points to note about this. The first is the puny annualised return earned on the gold leasing market. The second is the significant percentage of the central bank’s gold lent out. This is a reminder that the paper gold market is significantly larger than the physical market. Just like a run on a bank in a fractional banking system, GREED & fear suspects it will be very hard to settle all the paper claims to gold physically in a real scramble for the metal. This is why in a parabolic spike physical gold is likely to trade at a significant premium to paper claims. On this point GREED & fear should make it clear that the 25% of the global portfolio for a US dollar-denominated pension fund allocated to gold bullion is in physical gold.

Meanwhile, it is an interesting note that more than a dozen state legislators in America have now seen bills introduced that would make gold and silver coins legal tender in the respective states. Thus, gold and silver coins minted by the US government are now considered legal tender in Utah. Much of this activism is coming from Tea Party supporters. Financial sophisticates will scoff. But to GREED & fear it is a healthy sign that some people in America are thinking. For more on this popular movement to return to the monetary role of gold read an article published last week by the Los Angeles Times (“Pushing for a return to the gold standard”, 3 June 2011 by Nathaniel Popper).

h/t Mike Krieger

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bank guy in Brussels's picture

Yay, Belgium!

Always good to see our nice little country at the top of the news.

Lending out a little Belgian gold for a few extra euros ... no big deal. Ha!

trav7777's picture

it's probably paper lent and paper sold

AgShaman's picture


They'll lend out their gold....but not their chocolate

Al Gorerhythm's picture

A friend of mine was visiting with his children. We had sent their 5 year old a treasure map, patch, sword and stuffed parrot, in anticipation of their visit, as she was mad about pirates. We bought a $2.00 treasure chest and buried it on one of our off-shore islands full of those gold foil wrapped chocolate coins. 

We set to sea and fought imaginary pirates off and landed on the right beach. It had a little cave that we had secreted the box in and upon discovery, she broke open the chest and immediately (as a test of authenticity) bit into one of the coins. To our delight she announced to her mother, "Mom. It's real chocolate"!

Can't fool kids.

tmosley's picture

You are now officially the funnest person I know.

I would have LOVED that as a kid.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

She was stoked, as were we. She is 16 now and still has the map.

AgShaman's picture

Cool Story....thanks for sharing.

Gives me great ideas for the future when 'I has me some' little munchkins and leprechauns interested in a treasure hunt!

vamoose1's picture

awesome,  what  island  was that again?

Al Gorerhythm's picture

Castaway Is, Cave of Horrors, Blaggard's Beach.

mt paul's picture

bought 10 lbs 

of those gold foil covered chocolate coins..

put them in the food storage ..

peculiar sense of humor...

carbonmutant's picture

 The Golden Fleecing... no doubt.

Urban Redneck's picture

Now we know Belgium on Bernanke's Auto-Bailout list, at least until gold goes parabolic or they get the gold back from the commercial banks its on loan to.

Bullionaire's picture

"or they get the gold back from the commercial banks its on loan to."


Nasal coffee ejection!  +1541.53


BKbroiler's picture

No different than with paper money, the banks lend it out as soon as it's deposited, that's why there are always withdrawl limits.  Money in a mattress, folks.

breezer1's picture

governmentless... too much. thats what keeps me glued to zh.

DonnieD's picture

This sounds like a sweetheart deal for the commercial banks. Must be quid pro quo as no one in their right mind would lend their physical at .3%.

traderjoe's picture

The speech was to the "shareholders" of the central bank. I wonder who the shareholders are?

Franken_Stein's picture


Oh really ?

Who woulda thunk ?


Remember ?

Merkel visiting New York and the FRBNY,

requesting to see Germany's 3400 t of gold stored there.


Her souvenir T-shirt reads:

"I came to New York and all I got are these lousy gold claim securities."


Thanks Bill Dudley.

Thanks Timmy G.

Thanks Robert Rubin.


lawrence1's picture

Am re-reading ¨"The Gold Wars" by Ferdinand Lips, the private Swiss banker who details the systematic the destruction of the gold standard bythe American and European political and banking establishment.  A must read.

I_ate_the_crow's picture

It must be nice to consider monetary policy in a vacuum and assume that "freegold" is the answer to all of our problems.


So we need a division between store of value "money" and medium of exchange "money", eh? So after hyperinflation, gold floats freely in the economists' perfect market whereby an equilibrium price is established and people use the inevitable paper derivative as a medium of exchange and convert salary or whatever portion of it they want to carry into the future as physical savings at the prevailing market price for gold? Brilliant! (If you ignore history, politics, the legal system, and most importantly, the integrity of central banks).


First of all, I love how the Austrian school of economics is now viewed as de facto correct because it identified the absurdity of Keynes' ideas. The uncomforting truth that must be realized is that all economics is pseudo science. It's all bunk, based on rational behavior, which doesn't truly exist. Basic micro supply and demand is still useful but the economics profession has been a joke for a long time now, wholly complicit in the current fraud. Just like bankers, economists should go out of the governing business.


"Gary wants to divvy up the gold and then inflict Freegold. If you cannot see the disaster that this is, I don't know what to say to you. All to take power away from the central banks? This is the mistake. It is not their fault. As Greyfox said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” We are at fault, for saving in promises. We give THEM power."


This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. It ignores the fact that the money changers have captured the entire financial, political, legal, regulatory and media structure of the western world. Central banks and the governments they control have suppressed the price of gold for years now, and it is unbelievably naive to think that "freegold" would somehow stop them from coming up with a plan to manipulate the price via the supply of gold again in the future. That idea is slightly less absurd than Ron Paul's "competing currencies" idea. FOFOA thinks, with social disorder accomanying hyperinflations, that freegold will be possible? I'm curious, how does the Patriot Act or matial law factor into this theory?


Honestly, I find all the debate between hyperinflation/deflation and gold standard/freegold to be ludicrously pointless. To me, it seems like most involved just want to be able to look back and say "look how smart I am, I told you so." Regardless of who ends up being more semantically accurate, one thing is certain: bankruptcy of the debt-based western economic system is coming to a nation state near you. Buy some physical silver and gold to protect your purchasing power and hold physical cash for the coming global liquidity crisis that will precede the greatest depression of all, the end of the keynesian exponential growth model and implosion of an 80 year debt-bubble. Absent a revolution in the USA nothing is going to change this outcome.


As we all know, the power resides with those who control the money supply. Private central banks must be eliminated. Debt-free money issued by the government is the only viable solution to true medium of exchange "money", and if FOFOA had any patriotic bones in their bodies, they would spend their time examining that issue rather than convincing people that some magical freegold inevitability will solve the world's monetary problems. If the central banks control the currency, even if it’s gold, it will be subverted, guaranteed.


FOFOA's thinking is obviously much more elegant than mine, though, so I probably shouldn't have even bothered with reading and trying to comprehend its genius. Get real! By all means, we should all have some gold for the reasons stated in this post. Just spare me the freegold standard gibberish, as well as the argument that it will be any different than any other gold standard throughout human history.


“If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”


-William Jennings Bryan

Saucy-Jack's picture

Hey Croweater,

FOFOA never says freegold is a solution to our problems, he just states that freegold is coming because that's what the PTB's want. Big difference there. The Titanic sinking wasn't a solution, it was just the outcome of hitting the iceberg (or getting blown up), just like freegold is the outcome of a debt based monetary system. He is agnostic towards what is best. He just states what he thinks is coming based on his information and assumptions.

I_ate_the_crow's picture

Sure, he can say that he is agnostic, but his insinuations imply otherwise. Think of it this way: replace the word "freegold" with "SDR Gold Standard". FOFOA's arguments could just as easily come out as a working paper of the IMF or World Bank.

To my way of thinking, all you can do now is take action to preserve your own wealth as we roll onward into this brave new world.

It's one thing to buy some gold to preserve wealth for this reason. I did it. But if the scenario plays out after collapse where the powers that be are touting the implementation of a new gold standard, I will do everything in my tiny little power to prevent it. In other words I haven't given up yet. On the contrary, FOFOA has provided the ammunition to convince people that "this time will be different".

As the new Freegold system of natural, pristine balance emerges, the fiat monetary authority will find its wisest move is to keep the money supply under control. And with a "wise" CB, gradually the "t" value will shift back to the right, little by little.

A wise central bank? No economic market or incentive can stop a private central bank from manipulating the money supply. Governments respond to power, and people do not have the power with a private central bank. The FED has all the power because Congress needs it to pay for everything. This dynamic will not change with "freegold".

lookma's picture

I could be all ZH and say something like, "STFU monket", buy why bother, its too funny watching you go full retard.

hocoodanode those middle school teachers waxing on about reading comprehension were onto something....

oh well, few things are more depressing than the tired laments for an opportunity long lost.

Don't forget your helmet on the way outta the house tommorrow!!!


lookma's picture

I could be all ZH and say something like, "STFU monkeyboy", buy why bother, its too funny watching you go full retard.

hocoodanode those middle school teachers waxing on about reading comprehension were onto something....

oh well, few things are more depressing than the tired laments of opportunities long lost.

Don't forget your helmet on the way outta the house tommorrow!!!


I_ate_the_crow's picture

Perhaps you could impart some of your infinite, non-monkeyboy wisdom and counter even a single point I raised? Oh right, that would be pointless, because if you are critical of freegold and FOFOA, it de facto means you don't understand it, correct? That kind of intellectual arrogance is both absurd and laughable. I have an open mind about a lot of things, but not when it comes to the evil of central banks. There is no gold theory, however "elegant" or "pristine" it claims to be, that can overcome this parasitic institution's manipulation thereof. But go ahead, I implore you, try and make a case otherwise.

StychoKiller's picture

Misc thoughts I've accumulated on gold:

[quote]In fact, the decision was the turning point of the Depression, the beginning of recovery. And every monetary economist knows it.  Which means that the first thing any future gold-standard government would do in the event of recession would be to jettison gold.  And every market trader knows that too.[/quote]

So in essence, the US Govt. snowed everyone into putting their faith in paper currency, the world saw the advantages of lying to the populace and now, no one will, or should ever believe any Govt. that promises monetary discipline.

I would far rather have the US Govt. (and every Govt for that matter), "Nailed to a Cross of Gold", so that everyone could see and MEASURE just how much money they truly have at any point in time.

Also, it's usually a Govt's fault whenever there's a crisis such as the one we're currently experiencing in the economy right now, why do people have any faith in the Govt at all when they create and/or exacerbate monetary crises in the first place??

The US Govt. has been spending way beyond it's means for decades, so why should it surprise you to see calls for the monetary restraint that the Gold standard imposed?

Once the wave of FRN's that the Govt spent on "Cash for Clunkers" and first-time home buyers dries up, this so-called recovery will dry up and blow away too, unless a miracle happens (I hope I'm wrong!)

[quote]They would demand to trade their dollars for gold at the fixed price of $20.67 to the ounce. Under the rules of the gold standard, the U.S. government would be obliged to sell.[/quote]

The entire argument is true only if the price of Gold is FIXED. A lot of people are snowed by the $50 denomination on the current Gold Eagle coin (1 Troy ounce of 24karat Gold), whereas in reality, Gold is trading at the price of $1,530/ounce (more or less).

If the Hoover administration had been forced to redeem gold certificates for real Gold, they would have soon found the fallacy in FIXING the price of gold to around $20/ounce, and they would have been forced into acknowledging reality and raising or lowering the exchange rate until the paper currency reflected the true price of an ounce of gold.

[quote]All interest is usury. Goldbugs, you're dreaming if you think there'll ever be another gold standard of any real meaning. There's simply not enough gold on the planet to support our ridiculously inflated figures. Imagine trying to pay off the notional value of all outstanding derivatives in the world - estimated at $1.144 QUADRILLION dollars - in gold. You'd be hard pressed to come up with even $1 trillion of the stuff at today's market rates.

Get rid of interest, especially that incurred to float the American monetary supply. Outlaw the charging of interest, sale of derivatives, and for-profit banking and many of our economic problems will disappear.[/quote]

If gold were still being used as dollars, everyone could see (or they could with a microscope!), just how much a dollar is truly worth by the size of the gold dollar coin. Gold holds it value precisely because it's virtually impossible for Govt's to make more of it to cover their excessive borrowing.

First, the Great Implosion™, then let's discuss what "Real" money is...

Whalley World's picture

I recall the part where Paul Volker threatened Swiss bankers with working with the Nazi's if they did not de-peg the Swiss Franc from it's gold backing.  When they said all claims had been settled, Volker stated not in the eyes of the US public when they shamed the Swiss for their work with the Third Reich.

CompassionateFascist's picture

The "US public"? You mean: Stuart Eiszenstadt + US Dept. of Commerce, via issuance/non-issuance of export/import licenses.

Reptil's picture

Dutch gold too. part is here. part is elsewhere.

interesting times.


watershed: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/european-gold-confiscation-sceme-unfold...

CompassionateFascist's picture

Seeking enlightenment. What is/was Deutschland's gold doing in Jew York in the 1st place? Something to do with outcome of WW II? Or some prior imbroglio, like Rothschild BOE (Montagu Norman) financing 3rd Reich. Or what?

Bringin It's picture

Germany is an occupied country.  Their leadership does what they're told.

Broomer's picture

If you still are here: prior imbroglio. The gold is stored there because the Soviets could steal it if there was a conventional war in Europe.

shortus cynicus's picture

... tons of gold was on loan at the end of last year ...

Third point is: he has not confirmed, that this leasing ended and gold was delivered back.

So we may assume, they just roll over making "gains" in paper gold.


Shell Game's picture

Not actually 'delivered', the gold never left the Belgium CB vault, only from one side of the balance sheet to the other, and then back again.

tmosley's picture

All happily stored away by your friendly neighborhood JPMo...oh shit.

Highrev's picture

And that's what actually matters, isn’t it? (Who the actual "owner" and "possessor" is).

PaperBear's picture


Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Not really.  All CBs loan their gold out, and I would not be surprised if many of the other CBs had loans at a higher leverage.

Stuart's picture

Ron Paul needs to find out how much of the US Govt's gold is lent out.   He's now in a position to do so.  Get on with it Ron.


Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

The Federal Reserve's balance sheet is public knowledge.  They may have all, or almost all, of their gold on loan, considering that gold is reserved as an asset, not a liability.


Idiocracy's picture

I feel confident we get a superior rent on our tungsten.  Top dollar.

Jimmy Bora's picture

België is een klein voetballand, maar groot in de financiële wereld...


Niet te verwonderen dat het steeds in de spotlights van zerohedge staat...


Cheers and beers!!!

Ignatius's picture

"The road will seem so straight and fair to travel that you will kick yourself for stumbling through the brambles for so long, and wonder at your neighbors who still can't see the path, though it is truly a freeway."  (by Aristotle, courtesy of FOFOA)

Jimmy Bora's picture

FOFOA's root is from Belgium!!!!


Viva Belgium!!!


Got gold, chocolate and beers?!?