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Sterling Area (Transactions)

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 14 December 1965

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the liability incurred by the United Kingdom as sterling area bankers for the rest of the sterling area over the past five years in respect of the rest of the sterling area's trade with the non-sterling area; and what information he has as to how these balances were settled.

I apologise for the length of this Answer, Mr. Speaker, but I promise that it is not possible to give the information required more shortly.

The published balance of payments figures show that the overseas sterling area's surplus on all transactions with non-sterling countries resulted in transfers to the United Kingdom estimated at about £440 million over the years 1960–64. Other things being equal, this would have led to a corresponding increase in United Kingdom liabilities to the overseas sterling area and thus in their assets in the United Kingdom. But, in fact, the greater part of this increase in assets was used as it took place to meet the area's deficit with the United Kingdom.