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The EC's $52 billion Gold Blunder

One of the great asset management blunders of all time has to be the EC’s decision to sell its gold reserves in the wake of the launch of the Euro in 1998. The decision led to the fairly rapid sale of 3,800 tons of the yellow metal at an average price of $280/ounce, reaping about $56 billion, according to the Financial Times. Today with gold at $920/ounce, the stash would be $52 billion more. On top of this, the Swiss National Bank is poorer by $19 billion, after offloading 1,550 tons of the barbaric relic. The large scale, indiscriminate selling depressed gold prices in the early part of this decade. It is a classic example of what happens when bureaucrats take over the money management business, ditching the best performing investment on the eve of a long term bull market. The funds raised were largely placed in poorly performing national Eurobonds. At least they didn’t buy stocks - or invest with Bernie Madhoff. The good news for gold bugs is that these reserves are largely drawn down now, and future selling will trail off in the years ahead.  The shrinking supply can only be positive for prices.