NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus said a sale of its gold reserves was among the options for its own contribution towards an international bailout, but said the ultimate responsibility for that rested with its central bank.
“The Cypriot government put various options forward, including this,” government spokesman Christos Stylianides told a news briefing on Thursday.
“In its consultations on drafting the memorandum of understanding the Cypriot government included such options so we could have the possibility of meeting financing requirement,” he said, adding that it was “one of many”.
Earlier a central bank spokeswoman said the sale of gold reserves had to be approved by the board of the central bank, and it was not presently on the board’s agenda.
Cyprus, which is in line to receive 10 billion euros (8.4 billion pounds) in aid, has to sell excess gold reserves to raise about 400 million euros to finance its part of the bailout, an assessment of Cypriot financing needs prepared by the European Commission showed.
The document, seen by Reuters on Wednesday, said there had been commitment from Cypriot authorities to this effect.
Gold on Thursday fell to its lowest since April 5 at $1,553.10 an ounce and was at $1,557.51 by 1:44 p.m. British time, broadly unchanged on the day. On Wednesday gold had posted its biggest one-day fall since February 20, accelerating losses after news of the Cyprus gold sale plan.
The document said Cypriot authorities were “committed” to sell excess amounts of gold reserves. Cyprus’s central bank February accounts showed the island had gold reserves worth 563.4 million euros.
Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Anthony Barker