HC Deb 19 October 1999 vol 336 c448W
Mr. Caplin

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the recent European Central Bank's agreement on gold. [94834]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The agreement reached by European central banks1 to limit gold sales and lending over the next five years means that the UK will be able to continue its sales programme while the price is underpinned. The agreement is an endorsement of the UK's transparent approach to selling gold. The Bank of England is a signatory on behalf of the Treasury.

The text of the European central banks statement is set out below:

Statement on Gold

In the interest of clarifying their intentions with respect to their gold holdings, the institutions listed below1 make the following statement:

  1. 1. Gold will remain an important element of global monetary reserves.
  2. 2. The above institutions will not enter the market as sellers, with exception of already decided sales.
  3. 3. The gold sales already decided will be achieved through a concerted programme of sales over the next five years. Annual sales will not exceed approximately 400 tons and total sales over this period will not exceed 2,000 tons.
  4. 4. The signatories to this agreement have agreed not to expand their gold leasing and their use of gold future and options over this period.
  5. 5. This agreement will be reviewed after five years.
1The European Central Bank; the central banks of Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden; and the Bank of England.