CARACAS, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Venezuela’s gold reserves fell by 3 tonnes within the first half of 2021 to their lowest stage in 50 years, central financial institution knowledge confirmed on Tuesday, as President Nicolas Maduro’s cash-strapped authorities continues promoting gold as a supply of revenue.
The withdrawals within the first six months of the yr introduced whole reserves to 83 tonnes. The once-prosperous OPEC nation’s economic system is mired in a years-long collapse, ravenous the federal government of funds. Extra just lately, U.S. sanctions aimed toward ousting Maduro have focused oil exports, additional eroding state assets.
These reserves have been valued at $4.9 billion by the tip of June, a drop of $187 million from the tip of 2020. Final yr, the South American nation’s gold reserves fell by 19 tonnes. The central financial institution has not disclosed the patrons of its gold. It and the state gold mining firm are additionally below U.S. sanctions.
Venezuela’s opposition has alleged that a few of the gold bars have been despatched to Mali and the United Arab Emirates in change for arduous forex.
The central financial institution’s gold reserves for many years exceeded 300 tonnes. When Venezuela’s financial disaster started to worsen in 2015, the federal government started utilizing gold as backing for loans from worldwide banks, and it has misplaced some bars because of these swaps. (Reporting by Mayela Armas in Caracas; Writing by Luc Cohen; Enhancing by Peter Cooney)