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Oeec Payments (Bullion)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1949

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40.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent settlements in gold and dollars in connection with payments agreement with the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation countries were made in bullion; and at what price per fine ounce to each of the countries, Belgium, Switzerland and Bizone, in 1948 and first five months for 1949.

All the gold payments in question were made in bullion; but I cannot give the hon. Member details of the proportions of gold and dollars in these settlements. All our monetary settlements involving the use of gold are normally made at rates agreed between central banks, based on the United States gold buying price of 35 dollars per fine ounce and the sterling-dollar parity of exchange.

Is my hon. Friend aware that 2,500,000 ounces of gold were involved in these transactions, and if gold had been valued at the free market price of £22 10s. per fine ounce instead of the controlled price of £8 12s. 5d. per fine ounce, instead of losing 2,500,000 ounces we should only lose 800,000 ounces? What is he going to do about it?

On a point of Order. I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter again, and again.