Exploring Gold

9. Gold plays an insignificant role in the U.S. monetary system, but the United States still holds a significant amount of gold. You can find the U.S. Treasury report on gold holding at <http://www.fms.treas.gov/gold/index.html>.

a. How many ounces of gold does the United States hold?
b. At what price does the Treasury value this gold, and what is the total value at that price?
c. The price the Treasury uses to value the gold is not the same as the market price. Find the market price of gold and compute the value of the Treasury gold holdings at that price.
d. Could the Treasury get the value you just computed if it sold the gold? (Hint: are the Treasury's holding big enough so that its sales would influence the market price?)
(Comment—there is an obvious question here, which is "Why does the Treasury hold this much gold?" I will refrain from asking it because I have no idea of what the answer is. If you have a good answer, you can send it to me.)

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