28 July 2014

205,000 or 205 tonnes of gold, why commas matter

Karen Hudes latest refers to "The UBS is holding 205,000 MT under the Global Debt Facility for the benefit of humankind" and she provides a link to a letter from UBS and associated gold certificates as proof of the figure.

The letter says that "... volume of 205,000 Metric Tons issued last June 15, 1977 is unrestricted for collateral ..."

Unfortunately, given that the letter and certificates are issued by UBS, a Swiss firm, and that Switzerland is one of the countries that uses commas as a decimal mark (thanks Wikipedia), then the "205,000" figure is actually referring to 205.000 tonnes.

205 tonnes is approximately $8,567,975,000.00 (or $8.5 billion, just in case anyone misinterprets the commas) and while that is a nice sum, I doubt it will be as helpful to "humankind" (a word I note excludes aliens/reptilian life forms) as $8,567,975,000,000 (or $8.5 trillion).


  1. What the heck is Presswire? Reading the article you linked to makes me think it's a new competitor to The Onion.

  2. I'm Dutch, so I had to look up the name you labelled this under.
    That's a nice word to cover the topic.

  3. She is loony toons, but thanks for the correction.

    Real question, why three decimal places (i.e. why to the thousandths of MT)?

  4. Normally ounces are done to thousandths, not tonnes. 0.001 of a tonne is a kilo, maybe that makes sense if the gold was held by UBS as kilo bars.

  5. Not that I'm a Hudes fan, but...

    - according to the Wikipedia page you linked to about decimal points/commas Switzerland can use both and the Philippines use a decimal point.
    - the gold was at least partially held in 12.5 kg bars (noted as 12 point 5 kg) as we can read on the certificate.
    - in the letter metric tonnes are noted as Metric Tons; the English way. In the US and the UK decimal points are used.


    I'm Dutch as well (we use decimal commas) but when I write in English I use decimal points.

  6. If you look on this UBS webpage on gold in German they use decimal commas. If you click to view the page in English the commas turn into points.


  7. These certificates are clearly bogus: firstly, look at the references to "Deposit Thing"; next, look at the UBS logo, which is not only amateur, but plain wrong (as can be seen from this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Bank_of_Switzerland and this image from 1960 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/22/Union_Bank_of_Switzerland_1960_logo.png/220px-Union_Bank_of_Switzerland_1960_logo.png )

    The reference to Ferdinand Marcos and projects in the Philippines is certainly curious due to the former's association with WW2 gold: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamashita_gold#Rogelio_Roxas_lawsuit

    This is supposedly a document issued by a Swiss Bank who's Governor has the German surname "Grob"; how come it is signed as "Mr." rather than "Hr", and what's with the Gregorian calendar "Juny" when this is not how the month of June is spelt in German, English or French? Note also the spelling of Union Bank of Swit[space]zerland in the semi-literate 1994 letter, also using the wrong logo

    Similarly Johnson Matthey - noted on the certificates as the refiner of the 12.5kg bars - has never had an "and" in its name: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_Matthey

    Overall, this is just plain dippy

  8. LOL, Juny.

    The letter is signed by H. GOB. All capitals G O B. The certificates are signed by H. Grob

  9. Zhang Lan: Your initial observations are accurate,your conclusions - not so much.

    The presence of grammatical and other errors in these type of documents is a well known phenomena - "It is not common but it is possible that as a further security measure the certificate of deposit may include other forms of coding. This may take the form of what would appear to be severe spelling or grammatical errors…This also has the advantage that anybody unauthorized dealing in that certificate would go back to the bank and it would enable the bank to deny all knowledge of it…" (Wolfgang Jentsch Managing Director of Commerce Capital Limited called on to testify as expert witness in the case of Peter Johnson vs UBS) see:http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_gold01.htm for more on this.

    Indeed, there is no area of finance OR politics more 'black ops' and murky than that of GOLD. Analysts who try to get a handle on that market without accepting that as fact are the first to drop out of the search for what's really going on - they are like a race horse with only three operative legs.

    In view of this, whether 'just dippy' or 'sheep dipped' - whether K Hudes is a wackjob or ;whistleblower' - the common caveats of the intelligence world apply here as well as anywhere - the possibility of she, or others similar to her in approach being a 'limited hangout' cannot be dismissed.

    The whole problem with trying to piece together pieces of anything... from 9-11 to Iraq WMD to MH17 is that dark actors deliberately muddy the waters. Or, as Angleton put it - create a 'wilderness of mirrors' -

    Hang on to your skepticism by all means... but nourish it will enough gleanings of truth to give it a firm root in the really real. Dismiss nothing... disbelieve everything.

  10. I think your reasoning is fellatious

  11. Zhang Lan said...

    I think your reasoning is fellatious.

    Although it's hard to be sure, I gather you suggest we bring sexual proclivity into the mix here... or is that you object to "felonious" conduct? Perhaps you posit a connection between the two?

    Intriguing moral overtones - but I think I still prefer "Thelonious" when it comes to overtones...unless you care to expand on what appears to be a euphemism known only to you, what the heck you are going on about will remain... the $69,000 question! Cheers!

  12. I originally thought the word was fallacious, not fellatious, however given the level of detail/precision in the original post, I am not so sure it was a mistyping...

  13. no mistyping, I can assure you, just a mildly tumescent reaction to a corksucker

  14. I'm chuckling at the comments above. Good repartee !

    @Bron: Nice pickup on the "continental" comma usage.