Secret

Section:

From Reuters
Friday, January 28, 2005

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7469626

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Germany backed Britain's proposal
on Friday for the International Monetary Fund to write off
debts of poor countries by selling or revaluing part of its
gold reserves.

The idea has been floated by British finance minister
Gordon Brown, who repeated it on Friday at the World
Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Germany's finance deputy, Caio Koch-Weser, agreed that
gold sales would be one way to fund debt relief and said
the international community should now tackle the idea.
"I believe we should discuss (IMF) gold sales as we did
in the 1990s," Koch-Weser, who is secretary of state for
finance, told Reuters.

The idea is expected to be discussed next week at the
Group of Seven finance ministers' meeting, where
Germany is backing a three-tiered timetable on
development aid proposals launched by Britain.

"The first proposal of 2005 must be to deal with this
historic problem of unpayable debt, the multilateral
debt," Brown told business and political leaders in
Davos.

"And that's why we are proposing -- and I hope that
other countries will support this -- 100-percent debt
relief on multilateral debt, IMF debt to be written off
by revaluing or dealing with IMF gold through sales."

In London HSBC metals analyst Alan Williamson said
the proposals would probably be ignored by the gold
market for now.

"We've had these calls in the past and its very unclear
as to what exactly Gordon Brown wants the IMF to do,"
he said.

"There are two things they could essentially do, one is
to revalue the reserves and use that revaluation as an
asset creation that they can then use."

"The second would be outright sales into the market,
but the problem with that is they might have to get
the statues of the IMF changed," he added.

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