The Fed Has 6,200 Tons of Gold in a Manhattan Basement—Or Does It?

[8/10/17]  Eighty feet below the streets of lower Manhattan, a Federal Reserve vault protected by armed guards contains about 6,200 tons of gold.

Or doesn’t.

The Fed tells visitors its basement vault holds the world’s biggest official gold stash and values it at $240 billion to $260 billion.

But “no one at all can be sure the gold is really there except Fed employees with access,” said Ronan Manly, a precious-metals analyst at gold dealer BullionStar in Singapore. If it is all there, he said, the central bank has “never in its history provided any proof.”

Mr. Manly is among gold aficionados who wonder if the bank is hiding something about what it’s hiding.

Other theorists suspect the gold beneath the New York Fed’s headquarters at 33 Liberty St. may be gold-plated fakes. Some conspiracy-minded investors think the Fed has been secretly leasing out the gold to manipulate prices.

“There has to have been a central bank spewing their gold into the market,” said John Embry, an investment strategist for Sprott Asset Management in Toronto until 2014 who once managed its gold fund.

“The gold price didn’t act right” during the time he was watching it and the likely explanation for the movement was Fed action, said Mr. Embry.

After this article was published, a Fed spokeswoman said the Fed doesn’t own any of the gold housed at the New York Fed, which “does not use it in any way for any purposes including loaning or leasing it out.”

The Fed has been selective in giving details about the contents of the vault and in the past has said it can’t comment on individual customer accounts due to confidentiality agreements.


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