Cartel Gold-Grab in Syria as Nation Forced to Liquidate Gold Reserves to Mitigate Sanctions

Chalk up another gold-grab victory for the cartel as Syria is reportedly liquidating its physical gold reserves of 25.8 tons at a 15% discount to market prices in order to raise revenues due to crippling Western sanctions

Western and Arab sanctions have caused Damascus’ currency to sink and depleted its cash reserves, forcing Syria to seek to sell its gold.Syria is moving to liquidate its gold reserves to raise revenue as Western and Arab sanctions targeting its central bank and oil exports cut into its cash reserves.

Syria’s foreign exchange reserves have been halved from about $17 billion, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday.

“Syria is selling its gold at rock bottom prices,” he said after a meeting with about 60 nations aimed at coordinating measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

On February 27, the European Union agreed more sanctions including prohibiting trade in gold and other precious metals with Syrian state institutions, including the central bank.

According to reports Syrian officials have been offering to sell gold at a 15 percent discount in discret amounts of 20-30 kilograms, which are easier to move in private sales and online auctions.

Syria had an estimated 25.8 metric tons of gold as of February 2012. At Wednesday’s spot prices, Syria’s total gold reserves are worth around $1.36 billion.
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