IMF Should Just Write Off Bad Loans And Keep Its Pretend Gold

Since the IMF makes a career out of lending money to countries that can’t repay it, why not just give the money away in the first place and keep the gold?

by Chris Powell of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA)

Since the International Monetary Fund makes a career out of lending money to countries that can’t repay it, why not just give the money away in the first place and keep the gold? After all, the money lent by the IMF is just a credit without any tangible existence like gold, which is a real asset — at least before it is hypothecated.

Besides, the gold attributed to the IMF does seem to be largely hypothecated itself, a dodgy claim against national gold reserves vaulted in the United States, Britain, France, and India. The metal is not in the IMF’s own vault, since the IMF doesn’t have one.

And doesn’t the IMF notice — does anyone notice — that most of the poor countries that long have received IMF loans and loan forgiveness have remained poor even though many of them are rich in natural resources, including gold? The IMF could start to look like a scheme of keeping them poor rather than encouraging them to prosper by developing their resources at higher, free-market prices — if the developed-country governments rigging the currency markets ever wanted to allow higher commodity prices.

Campaigners Urge IMF to Sell Gold to Provide Debt Relief

By Larry Elliott
The Guardian, London
Sunday, October 11, 2020

Debt campaigners are calling for the International Monetary Fund to sell some of its stockpile of gold to cover the debt payments owed by the world’s poorest countries for the next 15 months.

With a looming developing world debt crisis high on the agenda at this week’s annual meetings of the IMF, the Jubilee Debt Campaign said gold sales would help the most vulnerable countries cope with the Covid-19 shock and pave the way for a broader debt deal.

he IMF holds 90.5 million ounces of gold, or 2,814 metric tonnes, worth about $175 billion (L134 billion) at current prices.

A sharp rise in the price of the precious metal means that since the start of 2020 the value of the IMF’s gold reserves has increased in value by $38 billion.

The campaign said selling less than 7% of the IMF’s gold would generate a $12 billion profit, which is enough to cancel the debts owed by the 73 poorest countries until the end of 2021 and still leave the Washington-based organisation with $26 billion more gold than it held at the start of the year.

Both the IMF and its sister organisation, the World Bank, have identified the need for a comprehensive debt relief plan for poor countries, which would include debts owed to governments, multilateral organisations, and the private sector.

The campaign said gold sales would act as a catalyst for a broad debt deal and help convince China, a big creditor, that it would not be asked to shoulder a disproportionate share of the relief effort. …

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