Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Venezuelan gold sales will continue to be a headwind

President Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing new measures to improve the Maduro blasts new US sanctions on Venezuelan gold
Priscilla Morrison | 07 November, 2018, 09:34

Reported by Reuters, they spoke to two inside sources who claimed the move was due to new sanctions recently announced by the USA that will essentially stop United States people getting involved with gold sales from "corrupt or deceptive" countries, particularly naming Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Caracas is planning to bring 14 tons of gold, held in Britain, back to Venezuela, according to unnamed public officials, as quoted by Reuters.

The Bank of England declined to comment to Business Insider.

The plan on repatriating the gold bars, kept in London, has been reportedly discussed for almost two months amid increased difficulties in getting insurance for the shipment needed to move a large gold cargo.

"They are still trying to find insurance coverage, because the costs are high", the official said, without clarifying which side is responsible for the holdup.

The South American country is now dealing with one of the worst economic crises in history, going through a fifth year of recession and an annual inflation of more than 400,000 percent. Lack of hard currency can create shortages of basic goods ranging from staple foods to drugs and automobile parts.

The government has promised to auction 2 billion euros in foreign exchange over an unspecified time frame, without saying where it plans to obtain those funds.

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During a discourse at the Liberty Tower in Miami, Bolton explained that the decision was made given that, in the view of the White House, the Nicolas Maduro regime has been looting the riches of his country to satisfy his and his comrades' corrupt desires.

In a televised announcement, Maduro said his government is now certifying 32 gold fields that "are going to set Venezuela as the second largest gold reserve on Earth".

Over recent years, Venezuela has been a major seller of gold, and this year alone has sold around 24 tonnes - worth close to $900 million - to Turkey.

Selling the gold directly from the Bank of England to a foreign buyer would be logistically easier than shipping it, but could also risk running foul of sanctions. It's common practice for emerging market governments to store gold within the central banks of more developed economies. In the past four years, the country's gold reserves have decreased from about 360 tonnes to 160 tonnes. Their nearly $700M worth of gold now sitting with the Bank Of England.

Caracas has been looking to wean itself off of the US-dominated financial institutions and instruments, ditch the dollar and turn to euros and the yuan for global settlements month amid multilayered USA sanctions Venezuelan officials have described as "illegal".

According to an October article in the Financial Times, Venezuela and its state oil company PDVSA have defaulted on almost all their commitments to bondholders over the past year and are now billions in arrears on their combined traded debt of about $60 bln.

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