Central Bank suffers €75m paper loss as gold plunges

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has revealed that the value of the Central Bank’s gold deposits was €168m at the end of last year – a decrease of €75m on the €243m put on the value of gold at the end of 2012.

The reversal last year more than wiped out two years of gains by the Central Bank after its gold holding increased from €203.79m at the start of 2011 to €234.96m at the end of that year.

The holding further increased to €243.5m in 2012.

The fall in the Central Bank’s holding tracked the value of gold prices internationally which plunged by a quarter to about $1,200 per ounce between January and December of last year

In a written Dail reply to Fianna Fail’s Michael McGrath, Minister Noonan said: “Gold and gold receivables consist of coin stocks held in the Central Bank, together with gold bars held at the Bank of England”.

The Central Bank neither bought nor sold gold between 2010 and 2013. The value of the precious metal peaked in August 2011 and has fallen since. The reduction of value of gold has meant not only bad news for the Irish Central Bank, but central banks around the world where the value of combined central bank holdings slumped last year to $1.28 trillion compared with $1.7 trillion in 2013.