Venezuela will sell 15 tonnes of gold from its central bank to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in coming days in return for Euros in cash in an effort by the troubled OPEC member to stay solvent.
The sale this year of gold reserves that back the Bolivar began with a shipment on 26 January of 3 tonnes, and follows the export last year of $900-M of mostly unrefined gold to Turkey.
In total, the plan is to sell 29 tonnes of gold held in Caracas by February. Venezuela had reserves of 132 tonnes between the central bank’s vaults and the Bank of England at the end of November, according to central bank data.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro resorted to selling off gold after falling Crude Oil production, the country’s wider economic collapse and mounting US sanctions hit public income and made it hard for the country to access credit.
The United States, which is backing an attempt by the opposition to force President Maduro to step down and call new elections, warned bankers and traders Wednesday not to deal in Venezuelan gold.
US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a tweet to the United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington Thursday warning that anybody transporting Venezuelan gold would be subject to US sanctions.
Neither the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Colombia, which covers Venezuela, or the central bank responded to requests for comment.
GLD, gold, sell, tonnes, UAE, cash, US, sanctions, Maduro, Venezuela,