The Gold of the Bank of Italy

L’Oro di Banca d’Italia

Mario Draghi answered directly to the questions on the subject asked from the yellow-greens during the Parliament session at the European Union Parliament. He spoke of the ECB’s right to hold and manage foreign exchange resources (according to Art. 30 of the ECB’s Statute). Therefore, there are two aspects: if the ECB holds and manages, it means that it is not the owner, in other words it means that the ECB cannot sell; but if it is a currency reserve, it may have to be sold (in theory, at least) according to events and obvious needs.
However, in these situations, in order to sell (extraordinary act) the authorization from a superordinate authority, in the interests of the owner (Italian People, inalienable goods; Italian State, disposable goods), is necessary; but such superordinate authority does not exist. Then, or the gold is reserve, end the authority of guarantee lacks (as in the case of the properties of a minor or those of a non-autonomous subject); or gold cannot be sold and thus it is not “reserve”. In fact, the second and even more delicate aspect: the ECB Statute talks about currency reserves, but gold could be considered such when there was the connection of the coin to gold (and other currencies with fixed exchange rates and convertibility to gold established by international agreements). Today this is no longer so: buying and selling gold in various currencies (or vice versa) is not decided by agreements or by an authority, but by the free market.

From a historical point of view, the argument should be very simple: after 1971 it is a resource, not a reserve (in a technical-monetary sense). The ECB’s sole competence, therefore, relates to the authorization of the Bank of Italy in terms of its vigilance, as provided for in the Treaties and the Statute itself.

 

Nino galloni

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