Venezuela gold reserve value falls 14% in 2017

Gold held by Venezuela's central bank fell 14 per cent in value in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to the bank's financial statement.

Gold represents just under 70 per cent of the bank's international reserves, which at the end of 2017 totaled $9.665 billion.

The value of Venezuela's monetary gold stood at $6.626 billion as of December 2017, according to the most recent official information.

The fall comes amid a major economic crisis in Venezuela, with millions suffering food shortages and the government struggling to import basic products.

The central bank valued its reserves at $1,272.42 per ounce at the end of 2016 and $1,271.03 per ounce at the end of last year.

The volume of gold fell 16 per cent to 5.2 million troy ounces at the end of 2017.

In 2014, the central bank began swapping monetary gold in order to obtain liquidity with which to curb a sharp economic crisis. In October, Venezuela allowed a $1.7 billion gold swap with Germany's Deutsche Bank to lapse, according to an opposition legislator.

Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Dan Grebler.