Portuguese gold: 2020 was ‘an extraordinary year’ where reserves grew at rate of €6.4 million per day

2020 was an abysmal year for practically everyone on the planet, but it was very auspicious for Portugal’s central bank. Thanks to the country’s substantial reserves of Nazi gold – amassed by dictator Salazar during the Second World War (click here) – the bank made a profit last year of around €6.4 million per day.

Profits for the year reached €535 million, reports Correio da Manhã today. “€31 million more than estimated by the Bank itself”.

The reason was inextricably connected to the ‘nightmare of the pandemic’. As economies flat-lined, gold increased in value.

2020 saw prices for gold rise by 14%. The increase put another €2.3 billion on the value of the gold stored in the Bank of Portugal vaults. 

Says the paper, the year ended with Portugal’s gold reserves valued at ‘around €19 billion’.

This is the point where readers may wonder why the country is always bleating that it has no money – and why it is waiting so ‘desperately’ for the post-Covid cash bonanza promised by Brussels.

Answers are not easy. The official line is that the gold cannot be cashed in. “It’s a buffer for an extreme-case scenario”, say strategists.

But no-one ever gives a definition of an ‘extreme case scenario’ – nor is it clear who could declare one to allow access to the vaults.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com