* 2,300-page list shows gold bars and where they are stored
* Central bank says wants to keep more of its gold in Germany
* Bundesbank has almost 3,400 tonnes of gold worth 107 bln eur
By John O’Donnell
FRANKFURT, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Germany’s Bundesbank has published an exhaustive list of all the gold bars in its near 3,400-tonne reserve of the metal to bolster the bank’s standing as a guardian of stability among an increasingly wary public.
The central bank released the 2,300-page list, which also underscores its intention to repatriate some of the bars and store them in Frankfurt, following requests for more information amid speculation that some of the gold might no longer be there.
Just over one third of the reserve, which Germany started building in the post-war boom years, is now held underground at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt, while the rest is stored at the Federal Reserve in the United States, in France and in England.
“Half of Germany’s gold reserves will be stored in Germany by 2020 at the latest,” Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a member of the Bundesbank’s board said.
Publication of the list, which will be updated annually to show which gold bars are where, follows criticism that the Bundesbank was not being transparent about the 107-billion-euro ($120 billion) reserve.
That in turn partly reflects scepticism among ordinary Germans about the euro after an economic crisis almost fractured the currency that is used by 19 European countries.
“There were a lot of conspiracy theories about the gold not being there,” said Guntram Wolff, a German who heads Brussels think tank Bruegel, pointing to ‘disenchantment’ among ordinary Germans who have seen the value of their savings dwindle.
“Trust in the Bundesbank has suffered,” said Peter Boehringer, author of a book entitled ‘Bring our gold home’. “The Bundesbank must prove that the gold is there.”
The impact of the global financial crisis has been mild in Germany compared with other European countries. Nonetheless, some Germans are worried.
“The gold reserves show stability. The German people are happy to know that the Bundesbank is watching over this wealth, which belongs to them,” said a former Bundesbank official.
“It could be helpful, for instance, in covering some of the costs were Germany to leave the single currency.”
$1 = 0.8887 euros editing by John Stonestreet