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Government Holdings (United States)

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) in view of the decline in value of the US$, what is the capital loss on book value of Her Majesty's Government's holding of marketable and non-marketable US Government securities between their purchase and the present day, expressed in £ sterling at the current exchange rate;(2) what is the total value of British Government holdings of United States Government securities, both marketable and non-marketable, expressed in US$: what was the comparable figure a year ago; and what is the average running yield on these securities.

It is not the Government's practice to publish detailed information about the investment of the reserves. The bulk of them are, however, invested in relatively short-term assets, and the yield broadly reflects the level of short-term interest rates in the United States and elsewhere. The sterling book value of the reserves is of course

on the various forms of fuel used in the United Kingdom, stating the percentage of the final consumer price accounted for by the tax in each case and setting out the percentage by which the tax take has increased or decreased in real terms since 1973.

The information is:affected by changes in the value of sterling in terms of the US dollar and other currencies. But it would not accord with the Government's general policy about detailed information on the reserves if I were to publish changes in the book value of particular components of the reserves. In any case the changes would have little significance.