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As Its Price Climbs, Gold Conspiracy Theories Abound

DIE WELT(Germany)


BERLIN - Whether it is its solidly high price per ounce or maybe even the end-of-year visit of Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, to view British gold reserves at the Bank of England, conspiracy theories are proliferating around gold – particularly as (or so rumor has it) some kilo bars appeared in Great Britain that were filled with virtually valueless wolfram.

Some insiders even believe that a large portion of Germany’s gold reserves are in fact gold-coated wolfram (tungsten) bars. The sheer values involved – a standard 12.44 kg gold bar is presently worth 500,000 euros – go a long way to explaining the stubborn attachment to theories such as these, the spread of which are aided considerably by the Internet, reports Die Welt.

The precious metal had another strong week, with gold's spot price closing Friday at $1,687 per ounce.

Eugen Weinberg, who heads commodities research at Germany’s Commerzbank, says that he is certain that – if indeed there are any tungsten-filled bars at all out there – the number of them is exceedingly small.

German theorists’ fears are particularly fueled by the fact that, according to the German Federal Bank itself, only part of German gold reserves are actually in Germany: the bank says that “a good two thirds” of the 3,396 ton German reserves worth 145 billion euros are not actually stocked inside the country.

Among the rumors accompanying the nearly two-year upward trend in gold prices is that key national treasuries – not least Fort Knox in the United States – have now actually been emptied out. Another fashionable conspiracy theory sees price manipulation of the precious metal by a powerful international elite that controls the market.

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Gold bar ATM in Dubai. Photo travelourplanet.com

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How Gen Z Is Breaking Europe's Eternal Alcohol Habit

Young people across Europe are drinking less, which is driving a boom in non-alcoholic alternatives, and the emergence of new, more complex markets.

photo of a beer half full on a bar

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Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

PARIS — From Irish whisky to French wine to German beer, Europe has long been known for alcohol consumption. Of the top 10 countries for drinking, nine are in the European Union, according to the World Health Organization.

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But that may be starting to change, especially among Gen Z Europeans, who are increasingly drinking less or opting out entirely, out of concern for their health or problematic alcohol use. A recent French study found the proportion of 17-year-olds who have never consumed alcohol has multiplied, from less than 5% to nearly 20% over the past two decades.

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