Switzerland voted as expected in a referendum on whether the Swiss National Bank should increase its gold reserves. An overwhelming majority of Swiss voters — 78 percent — voted against the proposal.
Update: Gold prices rebounded during morning trading hours in North America on Monday, hitting $1,193 as of 10:38 a.m. EST.
On Sunday, Switzerland voted as expected in a referendum on whether the Swiss National Bank (SNB) should increase its gold reserves. Swiss national broadcaster SRF reported that an overwhelming majority of Swiss voters — 78 percent — voted against the proposal, according to Forbes.
Following the news, the gold price fell to $1,142.91 per ounce. As Reuters states, that’s the biggest drop for the yellow metal in roughly three weeks. Gold was at $1,149.60 as of 8:15 p.m. EST on Sunday.
About the vote
The referendum was an important one for Switzerland, and it wasn’t just about “saving Swiss gold.” In another Forbes article, Frances Coppola suggests that the referendum is part of a growing trend of nationalism in Europe, noting that the vote also included limits on immigration and an end to tax breaks for wealthy expats.
The part of the proposal surrounding gold — also called the “Save Our Swiss Gold” initiative — called for Switzerland’s central bank to up its gold holdings to 20 percent of its assets. Additionally, a “yes” vote would have seen all Swiss gold held abroad physically brought back to Switzerland — a very slow process that the bank has abandoned in the past. The bank would not have been allowed to sell any of its gold in the future.
How does it affect the market?
Leading up to the vote, some analysts had suggested that a vote in favor of the initiative could tip the scales to gold’s advantage, with one analyst suggesting that the amount of buying required would mean a constant bid on the market. It’s certainly easy to see how that scenario could have been positive for gold investors.
However, now that the votes are in, the future is not looking so bright for the yellow metal. Analyst Georgette Boele of ABN Amro Bank in Amsterdam told Bloomberg Businessweek, “[g]old had received some support in the last couple of weeks. We’ll get more pressure on gold. The overall outlook is not looking great.” To be sure, that prediction falls in line with gold’s performance since the vote.
For Swiss voters, time will soon tell whether the country made the right decision in terms of monetary policy. So far, like gold, the Swiss franc has also fallen in the wake of Sunday’s results.
Meanwhile, it appears that gold bugs will have to weather the storm a little longer, and will have to keep an eye out for another catalyst that could have a positive effect on the gold price.
Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct or indirect investment in any of the companies mentioned in this article.