One has to ponder at least some...the major effect of declaring “force majeure” is to invalidate deliveries from this particular vault...and the article says it is but one of five. OK, Fine. But an acquirer of physical of gold via futures contract, or, a commercial buyer does not as far as I know have the right to say “I want the gold I buy/take delivery of to come from the vault on Townsend Street and not the one on Canal Street. And being fungible, he/she should not care. These are going to be “so-called” good delivery bars of I think 400 oz. (I have pinged SAJ so he can correct me on anything I posit here)
So...why would they do this? If as the article says it’s “business as usual”, then the CME should make the deliveries from an alternate location, and if said alt location is in NYC, that should be what, a dozen blocks away, tops?
Enquiring minds, that kind of thing...
As regards FUTURES contracts only, the purchasor of a contract who holds said contract to expiration A) can demand physical delivery of the goods specified in the contract, B) cannot demand, or even ask for, a specific source of the goods being delivered (in this case, a depository); the exchange will make this determination itself, i.e. on which warehouse/depository to issue a putchasor's bill (old-fashioned term, still correct, but today we call this a receipt of tender), and C) can insist on hard demonstration (inspections and/or assays) that the goods delivered are up to specification.
400 Troy oz. bars are "good delivery" in the cash market, but not so in futures; the benchmark COMEX/NYMEX gold contract is for exactly 100 oz. When I was in the industry, delivery was in bar form (100 ozT, to be sure): these days I do not know what the devil the delivery looks like. It may be specified in the futures contract (and likely is), but, equally, it may not.
The old 1000 ozT silver contract delivery was a bit of a farce. What the purchasor got (along with wildly inflated "storage" fees, but that's another story for another day) was a formless, shapeless slab of 9999 silver weighing 1000 ozT. To say that this goofy object was "hard to handle" would be a supremely understated view.
The ultimate point on this subject (conspiracy theorists notwithstanding, of course) is that the exchange can and will deliver the contract-specific goods at one or another location and in a manner consonant with the terms of the futures contract. There have been A FEW exceptions to this in physical commodities over the years (the story of the default in Maine White Potatoes in 1978 (give me a year either way in case my memory is failing) is hilarious, and I can tell it truly: I was in the very room where Taggares and J.R. Simplot were on the phone with the president of the old NY Merc, threatening to "bomb" the building with several hundred tons of otherwise "undeliverable" spuds. They weren't kidding, either. Learned some new words that day...).
Nothing mysterious about "force majeure", btw. Just means "we cannot perform on the contract because of circumstances beyond our control". Otherwise known as the "acts of G-d" clause (shrug).
Good trading to you, and best wishes for the season,