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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid