|TGR: Are you willing to speculate about which central banks are shorting gold?|
MA: From what I have heard, it would not surprise me if the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Italy have done it. The Bank of Spain and the Bank of Portugal have sold a lot of their gold and may be lending the rest; also the Bundesbank.
A lot of these sales took place many years ago when the price of gold was $500-1,000/oz. My point is that the actual holdings these banks retain are much smaller than what appears on their balance sheets. Of course, they would want to get that gold back to spare the embarrassment if the euro blows up. This is why I have suggested that even if there is one more selloff in gold, the declines will be cushioned because the central banks will be bidding to buy back what they sold forward.
TGR: Could this information create a spike in the gold price?
MA: Many thoughtful people would see the demise of the euro as very bullish for gold, along with the possibility of higher inflation in China and all of the qualitative easing introduced by the Federal Reserve lately. Yet, gold has gone nowhere.
f one measures the position of traders reports on the Comex and then factor in that the Over the Counter market [OTC] is about 5-10 times the size, the net long position of speculative interest in gold is huge. That said, net positions have been reduced substantially in the past several months--several hundred tonnes would be my guess--and yet the price hasn't declined that much, which suggests that there is a bid in the market. The official sector, perhaps?
I would say there could be another 400-500 tons liquidated, which would easily be absorbed by the central banks. Ultimately, this slow, ticking time bomb will resolve itself with a much higher gold price.