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Gold Exports (Price)

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1949

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54.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of gold exported from the sterling area to the United States of America during 1948; and the average amount paid per fine ounce.

I regret that I cannot disclose details of the operations of the Exchange Equalisation Account. All our gold transactions with the United States are on the basis of the official price of 35 dollars per fine ounce.

May I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether the market price today is not £24 per fine ounce, and will he explain to the House why it is that there is such secrecy over this matter? The amount of gold shipped used to be announced in all publications before the war. It was stopped during the war, but now we are supposed to be at peace why should we not know the truth?

Because it has never been customary to disclose the operations of the Exchange Equalisation Account.

I am not talking about exchange equalisation fund. I am asking a perfectly simple question; what amount of gold is exported from the sterling area? That was always published before the war, and why should not we know now?

I am afraid, as regards the sterling area, we are not in control of the export of gold. I am not responsible for the gold that goes from other parts of the sterling area.

If I put down a Question which my right hon. and learned Friend can answer, will he endeavour to do so?