HC Deb 13 June 1967 vol 748 cc286-7
26. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he had with the Government of Australia before they reduced the proportion of Australia's international reserves held in sterling from 80 per cent. to 63 per cent. in the period between December 1964 and March 1967; why this reduction has taken place; and what estimate he has made as to the extent to which the trend will continue in 1967.

Mr. Callaghan

The composition of Australia's international reserves is a matter for the Australian authorities; but naturally close contact is maintained with them about these matters.

Sir C. Osborne

When the Australian Government reduced their large holding of sterling in this country to such an extent, did they consult the Chancellor? If so, did they give him a reason why they were withdrawing their currency?

Mr. Callaghan

I think we can assume that these changes are not made without serious discussion and consultation. In view of Australia's growing trade with Asia and the United States, there is certainly a case for some redistribution in her reserves.