CARACAS — Venezuela removed eight tonnes of gold from the central bank’s vaults last week, and the cash-strapped socialist state is expected to sell the bullion abroad as it seeks to raise hard currency in the face of U.S. sanctions, a lawmaker and one government source said.
With sanctions imposed by Washington choking off revenues from exports by state oil company PDVSA, President Nicolas Maduro’s increasingly isolated administration has turned to sales of Venezuela’s substantial gold reserves as one of the few sources of foreign currency.
The government source said the central bank’s reserves had fallen by 30 tonnes since the start of the year before U.S. President Donald Trump tightened sanctions, leaving the bank with around 100 tonnes in its vaults, worth more than $4 billion.
At that rate of decline the central bank’s reserves would nearly disappear by the end of the year, leaving Maduro’s government struggling to pay for imports of basic goods. …
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