Venezuela brings home $9B in gold

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez speaks holding a gold bar as he gives his annual address to the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday Jan. 13, 2012.
AP Photo/Fernando Llano
AP Photo/Fernando Llano

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela repatriated a final shipment of gold from foreign banks Monday, saying the country has withdrawn a total of $9 billion in its gold reserves and moved it to the country’s Central Bank.

The shipment of 14 metric tons (15 tons) brought the total amount of gold shipped to Venezuela since November to 160 metric tons (176 tons), Central Bank President Nelson Merentes said.

President Hugo Chavez in August initially announced a plan to retrieve about 211 metric tons (233 tons) held in U.S. and European banks.

Merentes didn’t explain the change, but said about 85 percent of Venezuela’s gold reserves are now held in the country.

State television showed images of a convoy of armored trucks guarded by soldiers as the gold was ferried from Caracas’ airport to the Central Bank.

Merentes did not say from where the shipment had arrived, nor in which foreign banks Venezuela still has gold.

While some economists have questioned the move, Chavez has said having the gold in Venezuela will help protect the oil-exporting country from economic troubles in the U.S. and Europe.

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