“The agreement addressed the concerns of the gold market after the UK Treasury announced that it was selling 58% of the UK gold reserves through Bank of England auctions, with the prospect of significant sales by the Swiss National Bank and the possibility of ongoing sales by Austria and the Netherlands, as well as proposals for IMF sales. In particular, the UK`s announcement had severely destabilized the market because it had been announced in advance, unlike most other European sales by central banks in recent years. Sales from countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands had always been announced discreetly and after the event. The Washington and EU agreement was therefore considered at least as a ceiling for European sales.  The Washington Agreement can be accessed and read in detail in the Dodis database under dodis.ch/1725 (which contains links to all appendices) in the Dodis database. You will find all documents related to the negotiations using the permalink dodis.ch/R27201 and the keyword Of Washington Agreement. Not all annexes to the agreement were published in 1946. A confidential document is a letter on the “victims of recent violent crimes committed by the former German government, who died without heirs” in Switzerland. The Federal Council intended to “sympathetically” examine the issue of these “dormant assets” in Switzerland (dodis.ch/1730, of French origin). “Unclaimed assets” would occupy diplomats for decades to come (see dodis.ch/T619), the real Shard having followed only after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s.
The announcement of the agreement was surprising for the market. It led to a sharp rise in prices in the following days, but it also eliminated much of the uncertainty surrounding the official sector`s intentions. Once markets have adapted to it, an essential element of instability has been effectively eliminated by the introduction of greater transparency. During this period, the signatories of this agreement agreed that the total amount of their “goldleasings” and the total amount of their use of gold futures and options will not exceed the amounts in force on the date of the signing of the previous agreement. This agreement will be reviewed after five years. “As part of the agreement, the European Central Bank (ECB), the eleven national central banks of the nations participating in the new European currency at the time, as well as the states of Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom agreed that gold would remain an important component of the world`s foreign exchange reserves and limit their sales to more than 400 tonnes per year during the five years from September 1999 to September 2004.  Following the renewal of the four-year agreement in 2014, the undersigned banks agreed in 2019 not to renew the contract because they had not sold large quantities of gold for some time.  Their sales had gone from the near limit agreed in 2007 to almost zero in 2012, before remaining very low thereafter.  Gold sales already decided and decided by the undersigned establishments are obtained through a concerted sales programme over a five-year period, effective September 27, 2004, shortly after the end of the previous agreement.