On November 30, Switzerland’s citizens will cast a very critical vote.
Through a referendum, they will vote for or against the Swiss National Bank increasing its gold bullion reserves to 20%, the central bank halting the selling of gold, and the storing of gold bullion in the country. (Source: Kitco News, September 30, 2014.)
If the results are in favor of the referendum, it will mean Switzerland’s central bank will be forced to buy a significant amount of gold bullion.
According to the most recent data from the World Gold Council, Switzerland has 1,040 tonnes of gold bullion in its reserves, equal to only 7.8% of its total reserves. (Source: “World Official Gold Holdings,” World Gold Council web site, last accessed October 16, 2014.) To bring its gold bullion holdings to 20% of total reserves, the central bank of Switzerland will have to buy 1,600 more tonnes of gold, or about 60% of all global mine output this year. Will the gold market be able to handle this kind of demand shock? I highly doubt it.
And if the central bank of Switzerland stops selling gold, a significant amount of gold will come off the market.
Finally, the vote on gold being stored in the country is just another example of the increasing appetite for the precious metal. We saw this phenomenon happen in Germany not too long ago when the country asked the U.S. for its gold back (the U.S. was “storing” it), but Germany was told it would have to wait seven years to get it.
The big picture: Since 2009, central banks around the world have bought more gold bullion than they have sold. Bring in consumer demand for gold bullion from China and India, and the recent lower gold bullion prices have provided buyers another opportunity to buy gold on the cheap.
If the referendum in Switzerland goes in favor of the country going back to the gold standard (that’s essentially what the vote is about), and other factors come into play in the global markets, the precious metal’s prices will skyrocket in no time.
With all this said, every time gold bullion prices have declined, I have been telling my readers it’s a buying opportunity. The way I look at it, the precious metal has had a solid 12 years of gains and in 2013, when prices declined, it was pretty much a gift for investors.