Audit of gold reserves carried out “successfully”, says Banque du Liban

The Banque du Liban announced in a press release published Thursday that the audit of its gold reserves, “coins and ingots”, had been completed “successfully” by a “specialized” international company chosen and mandated by a delegated consultant. The BDL attached to the statement a photo of BDL Governor Riad Salamé in an alley of what appears to be a vault filled with bullion.

According to the Central Bank, the operation took place in cooperation and with the agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It responds to a request from the international institution to strengthen “transparency” on the real state of the BDL’s assets. The BDL concluded its brief statement by assuring that the auditing company had been able to confirm that the quantities of gold declared correspond exactly with those contained in its safes.It did not, however, communicate the quantities reported by the auditor, but which the BDL relays every two weeks.

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According to the latest bulletin, relayed on Tuesday by Byblos Bank’s Lebanon this week, these gold reserves totaled 16.4 billion dollars in mid-November.

Lebanon has the second largest stock among Arab countries, at 286 tons equivalent to 9.22 million troy ounces (1 ounce = 31.1 grams), of which about 40% is stored in the United States. To these assets are added the foreign exchange reserves that the BDL publishes at the same time as that of gold and which amounted to 10.25 billion dollars in mid-November, not to mention a little more than 5 billion eurobonds (debt securities in currencies of the Lebanese State and which the latter has stopped repaying since March 2020). However, the BDL does not communicate the details of the proportion between the compulsory reserves (the funds deposited by the country’s banks at the BDL at its request) and the available reserves.

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It has been several months since the audit of BDL’s foreign currency assets was announced as launched. This operation is part of the reforms listed in the preliminary agreement signed last April by the IMF and Lebanon.

In crisis since 2019, the country began to apply to the Fund from 2020 to release financial assistance which should amount to 3 billion dollars disbursed over 4 years to revive the economy and clean up public finances. The 2022 budget (which entered into force 10 and a half months late), the adoption of a law establishing capital control (still in the hands of the deputies and already criticized), or yet another modifying banking secrecy (voted in October but stripped of its substance) are among the Fund’s other prerequisites. The restructuring of the banking sector and the distribution of more than 72 billion dollars of losses between the State, the BDL, the banks and the depositors also appear as one of the major projects required.

The Banque du Liban announced in a press release published Thursday that the audit of its gold reserves, “coins and ingots”, had been completed “successfully” by a “specialized” international company chosen and mandated by a delegated consultant. The BDL attached to the press release a photo of the governor of the BDL, Riad Salamé, in an alley of what appears to be a…


The article is in French

Tags: Audit gold reserves carried successfully Banque Liban

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