Belfast Telegraph

Irish bank refuses to say if it plans to move its gold out of the UK due to Brexit

By John Mulligan

Ireland's Central Bank has refused to comment on speculation it could move almost €200m (£178m) of gold bars from the Bank of England because of Brexit, insisting any move would be "commercially sensitive".

The gold reserves have been held by its UK counterpart for a number of years.

The Central Bank has traditionally been coy on the precise details of the reserves and the terms of the arrangement it has with the Bank of England.

It refused to be drawn yesterday on whether the reserves would be removed from the Bank of England either before or after the Brexit deadline of next March.

"It is for the Central Bank to determine how Ireland's gold reserves ought to be managed," a spokeswoman said.

"The Central Bank's portfolio is managed in line with approved parameters, which are kept under regular review.

"We report on key activities and developments in our annual report.

"The Central Bank's transactions in gold are commercially sensitive, and no further comment can be made at this time."

The latest Central Bank annual report showed that it had €209.3m worth of gold and gold receivables on its books at the end of 2017.

It is believed that included €193.5m worth of fine gold held as bars with the Bank of England, and an additional amount of gold coins held at the Central Bank.

Ireland's current gold reserves are amongst of any European country. The Central Bank is believed to have approximately six tonnes, or more than 211,000 ounces.

An ounce of gold was selling yesterday for $1,238 (£969).

It is also not known if the bank has lease arrangements in relation to its reserves.

Earlier this week, Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty asked Ireland's Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, what the government intended to do with Ireland's gold reserves following Brexit.

Mr Donohoe noted the matter was the responsibility of the Central Bank.

The Central Bank's gold reserves represented just over 0.2% of the €90.3bn of assets it held at the end of 2017.

A number of other countries hold gold reserves with the Bank of England.

Belfast Telegraph

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