Venezuela to sell gold ingots to pensioners as inflation soars

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela will begin to sell certificates backed by gold ingots as a savings mechanism starting next month.

The certificates, backed by 1.5 grams and 2.5 grams of gold, are meant as tools for pensioners and others to save money and use as credit lines to acquire cars and other items, Maduro said in a televised address. The gold is meant as a more stable way for Venezuelans to hold their diminishing funds as inflation in the socialist nation runs at over 100,000 percent.

“We have found the formula to advance towards socialism, equality and the development of national productive forces,” Maduro said, speaking from Venezuela’s Mint.

Earlier this month Maduro announced a 95 percent currency devaluation and a minimum wage hike of more than 3,000 percent, decisions that were a tacit acceptance of the ubiquitous black-market exchange rate. They accompanied the roll-out of new banknotes that dropped five zeroes — the second time such a measure was implemented in the past decade — to simplify transactions.

Starting Sept. 11, the gold certificates will be sold at around 3,500 sovereign bolivars and 5,800 sovereign bolivars depending on the weight.

During his address Maduro also appointed William Contreras as head of the newly-formed Interior Commerce Ministry. Contreras used to serve as as the director of Venezuela’s pricing authority.

(Reporting by Patricia Laya and Noris Soto).