Gold is indeed a form of money as many believe and the latest agreement by the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs to allow central counterparties to accept gold as collateral is further recognition of the yellow metal’s growing relevance as a high quality liquid asset.
In a press release today, the World Gold Council’s Natalie Dempster, is quoted as saying”It is very significant that the European Parliament is putting its weight behind the argument that the unique characteristics of gold make it an ideal form of high quality liquid collateral.
“We now look forward to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union upholding the inclusion of gold in the next stage of negotiations around EMIR which will now take place after the July plenary vote. The ratification would mark a significant step forward in redefining what constitutes a highly liquid asset under the Capital Requirements IV Directive, due in the coming month, from the European Commission.”
The acceptance of gold by the previously reluctant financial community has been growing apace. As the WGC points out, market demand for gold to be used as a high quality liquid asset and as collateral has been building for some time. In late 2010, ICE Clear Europe, a leading European derivatives clearing house, became the first clearing house in Europe to accept gold as collateral. In February 2011, JP Morgan became the first bank to accept gold bullion as collateral via its tri-party collateral management arm.
Exchanges across the world, such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange, are now accepting gold as collateral for certain trades and London-based clearing house LCH Clearnet has said that it also plans to start accepting gold as collateral later this year, subject to regulatory approval.
“As regulators, from G20 countries, demand that more OTC trading is cleared on exchanges and with the ongoing world economic difficulties further eroding the credit worthiness of other forms of collateral, we expect to see increasing demand by clearing houses, exchanges and investment banks to use gold as collateral,” says Natalie Dempster.
While one would still likely be unable to go into your local supermarket and pay for goods in gold, the metal is becoming more and more easily tradable, particularly if bought and held via some of the gold investment specialists out there like James Turk’s Gold Money or the London based BullionVault. There are many retail outlets too in Western nations which will buy your gold over the counter, although one has to be cautious about the pricing being offered here from some less scrupulous dealers, while in the Middle East and Asia over the counter trade in gold is even simpler and probably more transparent in terms of ease of transaction and price offered.
But the latest moves – including the well publicised Bank for International Settlements (BIS) (the central bank’s banker) gold swap for US dollars last year – suggest that even the Central Banks are now officially accepting the effective monetisation of gold. Indeed, to an extent, those Central Banks which have held on to their gold reserves, and those now buying, have been tacitly accepting this principle for some time.