Venezuela’s Gold Reserves Tumble 25% Amid Economic Crisisby
Decline in gold reserves surpasses earlier IMF estimates
Decline comes ahead of bond payments due later this year
Venezuela’s international gold reserves slumped 25 percent in the first half of the year as the country’s foreign currency crisis deepens.
The holdings fell to $7.5 billion in June from $10 billion at the end of last year, according to financial statements published by the central bank this week on its website. The drop surpasses the 16 percent decline estimated by the International Monetary Fund.
Venezuela’s government has to find the funds to meet $928 million in bond payments later this year, while the state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, has $4.2 billion in debt coming due and interest payments, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Officials have assured creditors they will honor debts despite growing discontent over shortages of essential items, and a record-low approval rating for President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela’s total foreign currency reserves, which include the gold holdings, dropped to $11.99 billion on Aug. 16 from $17 billion the year earlier.
The volume of the country’s gold reserves fell 27 percent to 6.3 million troy ounces in June from the end of last year, central bank figures show.