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Slovakia rejects idea of repatriating gold for now

A top Slovak political party official believes his country should repatriate its gold reserves because not even its allies can be trusted to keep it safe.

Published: December 14, 2019, 8:15 am

    Ex-Premier Robert Fico, head of the governing Smer party, had called for a special parliamentary session on keeping the country’s gold safe. The country’s gold reserves are kept in Britain but because of Brexit and the possibility of a global economic crisis, this could cause problems.

    The National Bank of Slovakia holds 31,7 tons of gold in reserve, valued at $1,4 billion.

    Three countries in Eastern Europe have already moved to bring their reserves home: Poland, Hungary and Romania.

    Earlier this month, the National Bank of Poland announced that it had completed the repatriation of 100 tons of gold from London. “Gold symbolizes the strength of the country,” said Polish Central Bank governor Adam Glapinski, although analysts point to Brexit as the main factor. The country’s total reserves is currently 228,6 tons, according to a statement issued by the National Bank of Poland.

    Fico said the Munich Agreement showed that allies can never be trusted, referring to the 1938 pact that allowed Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia.

    “I guarantee that if something happens, we won’t see a single gram of this gold. Let’s do it as quickly as possible,” Fico warned.

    After Poland, Serbia added 9 tons of gold to its reserves in October, and in 2018, the Hungarian central bank announced it boosted its gold reserves ten-fold.

    Central banks added another net 41,8 tons of gold to their reserves in October, according to the latest data from the World Gold Council in a quest to diversify reserves away from the US dollar.

    In 2017, Germany completed a project to bring half of its gold reserves back moving at least $31 billion bullion back to Germany from vaults in England, France and the US. In 2015, Australia announced that it would repatriate half of its reserves.

    But last week, the Slovak Parliament rejected the program of the session, where this issue was to be discussed. Thus Slovakia won’t be bringing its gold reserves home, at least for the time being, according to reports.

    “This is by no means a hot issue, not even a topic for an extraordinary session, by far”, opposition MP Marian Viskupic (SaS) argued. But despite being turned down, the repatriation of Slovakia’s gold reserves from the UK will remain on the agenda in the coming months.

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