India's central bank buys half of IMF's gold for sale


8:43p ET Monday, November 2, 2009

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Today's announcement by the International Monetary Fund, reported in the Bloomberg story and IMF press release appended here, that the IMF has sold to the Reserve Bank of India about half of the 400 tonnes of gold the IMF long has been planning to sell seems supportive of the gold price, at least for the moment.

That is, the sale has been arranged at market prices over the past two weeks, during which the gold price has remained strong, and the gold has been sold to another central bank and has not hit the general market, at least not yet.

But whether the Reserve Bank of India will use the gold for market intervention, open or surreptitious, is another question, and such use must be suspected. After all, India is the biggest market for gold, and the transfer of IMF gold to India could facilitate the dampening of that market if the Reserve Bank of India is inclined to try intervention to support the rupee or the U.S. dollar.

Even so, the proceeds of the IMF's sale to India, $6.7 billion, seem like peanuts, not even half as much as would be needed for a respectable bailout on Wall Street. Even if this gold was to be quickly resold into the general market, it probably would not go far.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

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IMF Sells Gold to Central Bank of India

By Sandrine Rastello
Bloomberg News
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund said it is selling 200 metric tons of gold to the Reserve Bank of India for about $6.7 billion, its first sale of the precious metal in nine years.

The sale accounts for almost half the 403.3 tons that the Washington-based lender in September agreed to sell as part of a plan to shore up its finances and lend at reduced rates to low- income countries.

"This transaction is an important step toward achieving the objectives of the IMF's limited gold sales program, which are to help put the fund's finances on a sound long-term footing and enable us to step up much-needed concession lending to the poorest countries," IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss- Kahn said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

The transaction, which involved daily sales from Oct. 19-30 at market prices, is in the process of being settled, the IMF said in the statement. The average price in the transaction with India was about $1,045 an ounce, an IMF official said on a conference call with reporters.

The lender has said it is ready to sell directly to central banks and later make transactions on the open market if necessary. The IMF official declined to say whether other central banks have expressed interest in purchases.

The 403.3 tons the IMF board agreed to sell amount to one- eighth of its stockpile. Gold prices reached a record of $1,072 an ounce on Oct. 14 and have gained 45 percent from a year ago.

Gold futures for December delivery jumped $13.60, or 1.3 percent, to $1,054 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Comex division yesterday, the highest closing price for a most-active contract since Oct. 23.

Proceeds from the sales and other IMF resources as well as individual contributors would help pay for discounted interest rates on loans to low-income countries, the IMF said in July. It plans to grant as much as $17 billion in extra loans to poor nations through 2014.

The IMF, which helped shore up economies from Pakistan to Iceland over the past year, has sold gold on several occasions in the past. The last transaction was authorized in December 1999 and took place off-market between then and April 2000.

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International Monetary Fund Press Release

IMF Announces Sale of 200 Metric Tons
of Gold to the Reserve Bank of India

Press Release No. 09/381
November 2, 2009

The International Monetary Fund announced today the sale of 200 metric tons of gold to the Reserve Bank of India. This amount represents almost half of the total sales volume of 403.3 metric tons that was approved by the Executive Board in September (see Press Release No. 09/310).

"I strongly welcome this transaction with the Reserve Bank of India," Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn stated. "This transaction is an important step toward achieving the objectives of the IMF's limited gold sales program, which are to help put the Fund's finances on a sound long-term footing and enable us to step up much-needed concessional lending to the poorest countries" (see Press Releases No. 08/74 and No. 09/268).

The transaction, which is in the process of being settled, involved daily sales that were phased over a two week period during October 19-30, 2009, with each daily sale conducted at a price set on the basis of market prices prevailing that day. The total sales proceeds are equivalent to US$6.7 billion or SDR 4.2 billion. Under the Fund's Articles of Agreement, all gold sales must be conducted at prices based on market prices, including direct sales to official holders as in the case of this transaction.

As previously announced (see Press Release No. 09/310), in accordance with the guiding principle of avoiding disruption of the gold market, the IMF's Executive Board adopted modalities for the gold sales consistent with guidelines it had earlier established. In particular, the Fund is standing ready for an initial period to sell gold directly to central banks and other official holders that may be interested in such sales. Thereafter, on-market sales of any amounts remaining from the 403.3 tons would be conducted in a phased manner over time, following the approach adopted successfully by central banks participating in the Central Bank Gold Agreement.

As previously indicated, the Fund will inform markets before any on-market sales commence, and will report regularly to the public on progress with the gold sales.

Useful links:

Gold Sales FAQs:

Factsheet: Gold in the IMF:

Press Release on Gold Sales:

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