5
   

NY Fed gold vault

 
 
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2016 03:45 pm
I came across an ABC News story about the gold vault of the New York bank branch of the Federal Reserve System:

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=5835433&page=1

There are several things about the article that puzzle me.

First, it claims that the vault holds 25 percent of the world's gold reserves; but it also claims that it holds 5 percent of the United States's gold. Since world gold reserves include U.S. gold reserves and are larger than U.S. reserves, that is mathematically impossible.

Second, the article talks about a concrete floor "dented" from where some 28 pound gold bars were once dropped. But gold bullion is nearly pure (.995 being typical) and pure gold is both soft and malleable, whereas the concrete floor of an ultra-high security vault surrounded by solid rock is neither.

My online research suggests that on the Moh's scale of hardness, good modern concrete runs from 7 to 9. The vault was built in 1921, so I would expect it to be at the low end of this range if not below. Pure gold, on the other hand, has a hardness of just 2.5. So I would expect gold bullion to deform in a short drop, but not thick, vault quality concrete backed by solid rock.

On the other hand, elemental tungsten has exactly the density of elemental gold, while being much harder than gold (7.5 on the Moh's scale versus 2.5). Tungsten is also much cheaper than gold. A thin gold plating could allow it to pass a superficial assay test, while the density equivalence of gold and tungsten would allow it to pass certain other tests.

Since much of the gold was transferred from foreign central banks in the early to middle 20th century, when many of the modern techniques for materials analysis were not available, I'm wondering how plausible it is that at least some of the bullion isn't actually gold.

I've also come across a number of credible reports that central banks use swaps and paper gold, to allow them to report gold reserves while actually loaning out gold for higher investment returns. Since the NY Fed gives public tours of the vault but wouldn't want to spook investors and financiers by admitting that the gold they're supposed to be storing isn't actually there, this would also be a method of preserving appearances.

Admittedly, these lines of speculation are the most fanciful way of interpreting a popular news article about the gold vault, but I wonder if I can elicit some interesting hyperlinks relating to the subject.

  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 1,897 • Replies: 11
No top replies

 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2016 06:22 pm
@puzzledperson,
puzzledperson wrote:
First, it claims that the vault holds 25 percent of the world's gold reserves; but it also claims that it holds 5 percent of the United States's gold.

Possibly "gold" and "gold reserves" are two different things?

(I don't know, just speculating.)


puzzledperson wrote:
So I would expect gold bullion to deform in a short drop, but not thick, vault quality concrete backed by solid rock.

It might be that both gold and floor were dented, with the gold being dented far more, but the floor still getting a little bit of a dent.

It might be that the gold had a pallet or container that was harder than the gold itself, and that is what dented the floor under the weight of the gold.

I recall hearing that if you fall into water at a great enough velocity it is just like falling onto concrete, because the water can only flow out of the way so fast, and you are plowing into the water much faster than it can flow out of the way. Perhaps the extreme weight of the gold caused it to push into the floor faster than the gold could deform out of the way, leading to the gold temporarily acting harder than it normally is.

(As above, just speculating.)
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2016 08:18 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote: "Possibly "gold" and "gold reserves" are two different things?"

Yeah, that occurred to me, but here's the original text:

"Very little of it belongs to the U.S. government.

"There are roughly 540,000 gold bars belonging to 48 foreign central banks and 12 international organizations such as The International Monetary Fund or The Bank for International Settlement. The United States has about 5 percent of its gold stored there."

So the context is government gold reserves, and the specific reference is gold belonging to the United States as a federal entity, not to the totality of gold owned by other (private and public) entities within its geographical borders. Besides, I don't see how the latter could be estimated, since gold coins and jewelry can be imported, and the gold content of many items, ranging from computer circuitry to jewelry, containing gold, is not tracked by a central registry.

Incidentally, here's something provocative:

"Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts is making some bold new claims about the Federal Reserve and its official government gold holdings. Dr. Roberts contends, “They don’t have any more gold. That’s why they can only give Germany 5 tons of the 1,500 tons it’s holding. In fact, when Germany asked for this delivery last year, the Fed said no. But it said we will give you back 300 tons . . . . So, they said we will give you back 20% of what you trusted us to keep for you over the next seven years, but they are not even able to do that.” Dr. Roberts goes on to say, “The stocks of gold at the Bank of England seem to be disappearing. The stocks of many of the gold trusts, such as GLD, are being looted . . . all of this gold is disappearing into Asian markets. The entire West is being drained of gold.”

http://usawatchdog.com/fed-they-do-not-have-any-more-gold-paul-craig-roberts/

Regarding water, it's essentially incompressible under normal conditions, which is one of several unusual properties it possesses.

I recently read a book by Gerald Pawle called Secret Weapons of World War Two, which deals with British research and development.

One of the programs involved an early robotic drone plane called the Swallow, which was rocket propelled once in flight but launched using a high speed catapult. The catapult trolley carrying the plane was stopped at the end of the track by a hydraulic ram filled with water. It hit the ram with a force of about 80 tons behind it. A cloud of water droplets was expelled like machine gun bullets, riddling the wings with minute holes. They built a steel shield to prevent this, weighing more than 100 pounds and secured by eight heavy bolts, but the force of the water sheered the bolts like putty and blew the shield sky-high.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2016 08:35 pm
@puzzledperson,
puzzledperson wrote:
First, it claims that the vault holds 25 percent of the world's gold reserves; but it also claims that it holds 5 percent of the United States's gold. Since world gold reserves include U.S. gold reserves and are larger than U.S. reserves, that is mathematically impossible.


it's simply telling you that a tiny portion of the US reserves are included in the gold held there
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2016 10:48 pm
@ehBeth,
Yes. According to IMF figures for world official gold holdings (February 2015), the United States holds about 25 percent of the total. If 5 percent of U.S. gold reserves are stored there, that's 1.25 percent of the world total. But 25 percent of total world gold reserves are stored there, so non-U.S. holdings stored there account for 23.75 percent of the world total. So my claim of mathematical impossibility was erroneous.


Miss L Toad
 
  0  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2016 01:59 am
@puzzledperson,
Quote:
So my claim of mathematical impossibility was erroneous.


That's gold, and so's this:

Quote:
100 out of 1000 is 1 out of 10. That means if you pick just one student at random out of a thousand, you have a 1 in 10 chance of picking an honor student. That is equivalent to rolling one 10-sided die with the hope of rolling the numeral "1" (say) instead of any of the other nine numerals.

If you have ten, 10-sided dice, each of which has a 1 in 10 probability of rolling the numeral "1", and you roll all ten dice simultaneously, the probability of at least one die rolling a "1" is 100%. Which is not to say that any of the dice will roll a "1", only that the mathematical probability is 100%.

By analogy, 100% is also the answer to your question.


parados
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2016 07:37 am
@puzzledperson,
Quote:
Very little of it belongs to the U.S. government.

There are roughly 540,000 gold bars belonging to 48 foreign central banks and 12 international organizations such as The International Monetary Fund or The Bank for International Settlement. The United States has about 5 percent of its gold stored there.




Assume for a moment that the US has 20,000 gold bars total. They have 1,000 gold bars in this vault and 19,000 gold bars in Fort Knox. 48 foreign banks and 12 international organizations have 520,000 gold bars in the vault.

There is no contradiction in the US having only 5% of it's gold there since it makes up a small percentage of the total gold which could be 25% of total gold in the world.

Secondly, simply using the hardness as your factor for which is dented is not a valid way of calculating force. For instance in Iraq, one of the deadliest things to use against steel armor plating is copper. Copper is not nearly as hard as steel especially when molten but it's all about the force. A small object moving at high speed has more force than the stationary object does in pushing back. In this case, some of the gold will deform absorbing some of the force but just like the crumple zone on a car the rest of the force is still there and the concrete has to absorb it.
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2016 05:41 pm
@parados,
Presumably the gold bars were not dropped from any great height, and so did not acquire any great speed. Nor would they concentrate their force at a small point, like a bullet. But I admit that the argument provided is weak.
puzzledperson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2016 06:27 pm
@Miss L Toad,
Unlike gold, error is commonplace. I find it interesting that you keep close track of mine over a period of months, and appear to take a gloating pleasure in publicizing them. If I were to interpret this in psychological terms, I would have to conclude that you are suffering from an inferiority complex and are obsessed with me.

Unlike you I have a healthy ego and a reasonable evaluation of my own capabilities and frailties, both of which are subject to considerable variation. So it is scarcely a revelation that I am fallible, and the observation of this mundane fact cannot wound me, as seems to be your intent.

Thanks for being my groupie.

(And no, I didn't watch your video link.)
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2016 06:36 pm
@puzzledperson,
puzzledperson wrote:
Presumably the gold bars were not dropped from any great height, and so did not acquire any great speed.

But think of the overwhelming mass.


puzzledperson wrote:
Nor would they concentrate their force at a small point, like a bullet.

One corner of whatever was dropped could have hit the floor first.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Apr, 2016 07:35 am
@puzzledperson,
F = M * A

oralloy has already pointed out that the force could be concentrated at one point.
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 May, 2016 06:21 am
@puzzledperson,
Yep, It's a lie.
Goto Ft Knox and scratch the paint off the bullion - Just lead.
US has 0 gold.
btw the fed is a privately owned affair - So you have 0 gold and 0 currency too.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Where is the US economy headed? - Discussion by au1929
Debt consolidation - Question by rogers
Shopping Around For Loans - Question by Brandon9000
What is greed? - Discussion by Robert Gentel
bonds series h - Question by allen russell
Naked Short Selling - Question by optimus cubed
HOW TO GET WEALTHY - Discussion by farmerman
 
  1. Forums
  2. » NY Fed gold vault
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 08/18/2019 at 06:48:01