"The Federal Reserve does not own any gold at all. We have not owned gold since 1934, so we have not engaged in any gold swap.
…What appears on our balance sheet is gold certificates…Before 1934 the Federal Reserve did, we did own gold. We turned that over by law to the Treasury and received in return for that gold certificates."
FOFOA describes the implications to this better than we can:
Here is something you need to understand about the US gold. The Fed does not own it. The US Treasury does. Following the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, the Treasury gained title to the entirety of the US monetary gold (including $3.5 billion which was currently being held by the Federal Reserve banks). From that point on, the Fed has received [from Treasury] private issues of new-fangled gold certificates in $100, $1,000, $10,000 & $100,000 denominations -- not to be paid out and not for circulation.
So the Treasury took 175 million ounces of gold from the Fed, paid the Fed in DOLLAR-DENOMINATED certificates for this gold at $20 per ounce, then revalued gold to $35 per ounce. So if the Fed had even been able to redeem those certificates for gold in 1935, it would have only gotten back 100 million ounces. The windfall of 75 million ounces of gold ($2.6 billion), in this case, went entirely to the US Treasury and not the Fed.
The entire Treasury windfall was $2.8 billion and was the reason and the funding for the establishment of the ESF, the Exchange Stabilization Fund in 1934. So following the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 100 million ounces of gold were already automatically monetized. The rest of the US gold was eventually monetized through the Fed. The way this happens is the US Treasury issues fancy new non-negotiable, dollar-denominated gold certificates to the Fed and the Fed credits the Treasury account with dollars.
Today, all of the US gold has been "spent" in this way, but only at the price of $42.22 per ounce. That's 261,511,132 ounces of gold monetized at roughly $11 billion, money that was spent long ago.
So you see, the Fed cannot mark the US gold to market. It cannot even revalue the US gold. Only Congress can. And even if Congress DID revalue the gold, it would not change the Fed balance sheet by one penny. The Fed only holds dollar-denominated certificates worth $11 billion, payable in gold, but not really. It's kind of like Aramco in 1945 who owed the Saudis $3 million, payable in gold.
If Congress DID decide to mark the US stockpile of gold to market today it would find it had a new stream of revenue. At today's price of $1,328 per ounce, the US gold would be worth $347 billion. Subtract the $11 billion already on the Fed balance sheet and Congress could immediately ask the Fed to credit the US Treasury with $336 billion new dollars to be spent.
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