Swiss Gold Referendum Poll Indicates Waning Support

A ‘yes’ vote for the Swiss gold referendum later this month is looking increasingly unlikely, according to a recent poll.

The Save our Swiss Gold campaign is a proposal backed by the country’s right-wing Swiss People’s Party, which garnered the required 100,000 signatures needed to hold a referendum.

If more than 50 per cent of people vote in favour, the nation’s central bank will be prevented from selling gold reserves and must retain at least one-fifth of its total assets in bullion.

However, a recent poll from research firm gfs.bern and Swiss broadcaster SRG revealed support for the legislation appears to be slipping, with just 38 per cent of people considering themselves advocates in November.

This compared with 44 per cent who said the same in October, Reuters reports. In comparison, those intending to vote ‘no’ climbed from 39 per cent to 47 per cent month on month.

A further 15 per cent gave no answer or were yet to make a decision on the issue, with the referendum set to take place on November 30.

Central bank opposition

The proposal has come under fire from the Swiss National Bank (SNB), with the organisation complaining that restrictions on gold buying and selling would hamper its ability to control monetary policy.

Switzerland currently only holds 7.8 per cent of assets in gold, and only 70 per cent of the precious metal is domestically stored. Should a ‘yes’ vote succeed, the nation would need to repatriate its gold from other countries.

The UK’s Bank of England holds approximately 20 per cent of Switzerland’s gold, while Canada has the remaining 10 per cent.

Typically, the SNB has been tight-lipped on its gold practices, but the threat of the referendum resulted in the bank targeting a more transparent approach.

According to the institution, there is the potential of increased unemployment and a recession if the new legislation is passed.

Speaking to regional Swiss newspaper Zuercher Oberlaender, SNB chairman Thomas Jordan said changing gold regulations could have significant effects on the country’s financial strength.

“The SNB couldn’t fulfil its mandate of securing price stability or buffer major shocks to the economy as well as it currently does,” he argued.

Expert opinions

The poll results will be disappointing for proponents of the campaign, particularly as experts are now pessimistic over its success.

Thorsten Proettel, commodity analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, told Reuters the proposal is unlikely to pass.

He said: “The chairman of the Swiss National Bank has spoken against the referendum, and I think the necessary 50 per cent vote will not be reached.”

Deutsche Bank claimed the short-term impact of a ‘yes’ outcome would mean a lift in gold prices, but added there may be few long-term benefits.

Declining support for the initiative led to the value of gold slumping 1 per cent last Tuesday (November 18). However, the metal may yet recover, as global economies show weakness in the face of Japan’s recent drop into recession.

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