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$1 billion decline in Venezuela's gold reserves in first half of year

Section: Daily Dispatches

Corina Pons and Mayela Armas
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Gold reserves held by Venezuela's central bank fell by $1 billion in the first half of 2019, official data released this week showed, amid opposition accusations that the government is selling the precious metal abroad to raise revenue in the face of U.S. sanctions.

The value of the gold bars in central bank vaults fell to $4.62 billion, down 18.5% from $5.67 billion dollars at the end of 2018 -- the lowest in 75 years, according to bank data

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Opposition leaders have for months accused the government of President Nicolas Maduro of withdrawing gold to sell abroad as U.S. financial sanctions have crippled oil exports and blocked it from borrowing abroad.

The drop corresponds to a decline of 26.36 tons of gold from reserves, leaving the bank with about 102.40 tons. About one-third of that is held by the Bank of England.

Ruling Socialist Party officials accuse the Bank of England of refusing to repatriate the gold due to sanctions. The Bank of England has declined to comment, citing internal policy. ...

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