HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 cc37-8WS
Mr. Redwood

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the proceeds of gold sales from the UK reserves were in each year since 1997; and if he will estimate the value of that gold at today's prices. [133659]

Mr. Hendry

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total receipts for the gold reserves sold off by the Treasury over the past five years were; and what the value of those reserves would be at the afternoon fix of 20 October. [133974]

Ruth Kelly

The gold sales between July 1999 and March 2002 reflect a prudent decision to reduce over-exposure to a single asset in the net reserves portfolio. The total proceeds from the sale of 395 tonnes of gold during this period were US$ 3,496 million. At current market prices, the total value of this gold would be US$4,961 million. The difference between these two figures does not represent the real financial impact of the sales, as the proceeds from the gold sales were invested in euro, dollar and yen interest baring assets that have also increased in value over this period. The gold sales reduced risk by around 30 per cent. (as measured by value-at-risk) and are not expected to deliver a loss in return when measured over the medium to long-term; the appropriate time horizon for such a decision.