HC Deb 02 April 1968 vol 762 cc165-6
31. Mr. Rankin

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the official gold and foreign exchange holdings of the United Kingdom at the latest convenient date; and from information available to him from international sources, what is his estimate of the official gold and foreign exchange holdings of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy and the United States of America.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

With permission, I will circulate this information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Rankin

Could my right hon. Friend append to that the similar holding of a year ago?

Mr. Jenkins

My reply is already in the course of being circulated. If my hon. Friend had wished for this information as well, it would have been possibly a little more for the convenience of the House and for the Treasury at any rate if he had put it in his Question.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this information will show for the first time that our holdings of foreign currencies exceed our holdings of gold? At a time when the price of gold is so liable to change, is this not the height of folly by the Government?

Mr. Jenkins

I do not think that the currency proportion is higher than in the past, mainly because drawings from the I.M.F and central bank systems are payable and repayable in foreign currency. The proportion is not significantly higher than in the case of at least one and possibly two other countries in the table.

Following is the information:

Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves
$ million—end—January 1968
France 6,053
Federal Republic of Germany 6,861
Italy 4,540
U.S.A 14,179
Source: International Financial Statistics for March)
United Kingdom 2,747

$ million—end—March 1968
United Kingdom 2,723