Venezuela’s Central Bank data showed, on Tuesday, that the south American country’s gold reserves fell by three tons in H1 of 2021 to their lowest level in 50 years, 83 tons, as President Nicolas Maduro continues to sell gold for hard currency.
Recently, US sanctions aimed at isolating Maduro have targeted oil exports, further eroding the economy of the once thriving OPEC nation. The state gold mining company is also subject to US sanctions.
The 83 tons reserves were estimated at $4.9 billion at the end of June, a drop of $187 million from the end of 2020. However, the economy is getting better, as the latin country sold over 19 tons of the yellow metal last year.
The Venezuelan opposition claimed that some gold bars were sent to Mali and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in exchange for foreign currencies to meet the country’s obligations.
The central bank’s gold reserves exceeded 300 tons for for decades, however, when Venezuela economic crisis began in 2015, the government began selling gold to back up foreign loans, reaching 83 tons in 2021.