News / Europe

    Gold Lining for France's Economic Clouds

    A one-ounce gold bar [top R] designed by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier is displayed with gold bars weighing between one ounce and 500 grams in an office of French gold supplier CPoR Devises company in Paris, October 10, 2011.
    A one-ounce gold bar [top R] designed by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier is displayed with gold bars weighing between one ounce and 500 grams in an office of French gold supplier CPoR Devises company in Paris, October 10, 2011.
    Henry Ridgwell

    Before another summit of European leaders, eurozone countries have been warned they may face a credit downgrade without a decisive agreement to save the euro. The debt crisis is casting a long shadow as France and other countries prepare for the Christmas holiday. The euro's troubles have made 2011 a good year for Parisians who deal in gold.

    Rue Vivienne in the heart of Paris is the long-time home of France’s gold trade.

    For the dealers, times have rarely been so good. There is a steady stream of customers. Since the global financial crisis began in 2008, the price of gold has soared.

    Michel Prieur specializes in selling gold coins, called ‘Napoleons’, and other valuable artifacts from his store on Rue Vivienne.
    “The price of gold has increased four- or five-fold. We have started at about $280 an ounce. Now it’s $1,700. And the question is, ‘Is it going to keep on [rising]?’ My point of view is that gold has not changed. It is the paper that has lost its value,” said Prieur.

    The European Union has resisted using what is known as "quantitative easing’ on the scale seen in the United States, Britain and Japan.
    Essentially it involves central banks buying government bonds to encourage lending. Prieur said the public is getting skeptical.

    “The people understand that whatever the name is, quantitative easing or whatever else, this is all about printing new money without any real value. So they understand that it could go on and on because nothing will stop the governments from printing money as long as they need to cover their expenses. But gold, you cannot just print it,” said Prieur.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he is confident European leaders will back bold measures to save the euro. He has pushed for the European Central Bank to come to the aid of weak eurozone countries, a move resisted by Germany.

    Prieur said his knowledge of ancient currencies tells him where it will all end.

    "After three, four or five years they [eurozone countries] will go back to a decent level of indebtedness. And we will all have lost 30 percent of our purchasing power. This is just inflation. But all governments have dealt with their problems [by] creating inflation, for 2,700 years.”

    Paris’s famous Champs Elysees is a shrine to consumers’ purchasing power. Despite the Christmas lights, there is not much festive cheer among the people.

    "If we have to save, it will be on presents but not on meals," said one person.

    “Prices of everyday goods are going up. Especially basic goods and the cost of getting around. Everything is getting more expensive,” said another.

    This year, the dealers on Rue Vivienne suggest that a gold ‘Napoleon’ may be the wisest Christmas present of all.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora