Money: Where the Gold Has Gone

For months, international moneymen have been trying to solve a nagging mystery: What could South Africa be doing with the enormous quantities of gold —77% of the non-Communist world's output—that it mines? The question is much more than an intellectual game for economists. It involves such practical matters as the future of the South African economy, the value of the U.S. dollar and the whole intricate mechanism of international gold trading.

South Africa badly needs to sell gold to pay for its imports; but other nations have not been buying its bullion for their monetary reserves since 1968, when the...

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