Bank of France governor declines opportunity to disparage dollar - apr - 11, 2005
Dear Crowne Gold Clients;
Didier Testot and Simone Meier
China Daily, Beijing
Monday, April 11, 2005
Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said he has "no special plan
to modify the composition" of the central bank's foreign-exchange
reserves this year as the bank sells gold to buy currencies.
"We're just adapting to the evolution I signaled between gold and
currencies," Noyer, 54, said in an interview in Paris on Friday. The
institution's foreign-currency reserves "are historically mainly in
US dollars" with a "little historical diversification in other
The euro's 44 percent gain against the dollar since 2001 has
prompted speculation that central banks may lower dollar holdings to
The South Korean central bank, for example, said on February 22 it
plans to buy more non-dollar assets with new reserves.
The Bank of France sold 40 metric tons of gold in the fourth quarter
of last year as part of a plan to sell as much as 600 tons over five
years, Noyer told the press earlier on Friday.
The proceeds are invested in interest-bearing assets to improve the
bank's results, which in turn should boost government revenue.
The bank recorded a profit of 82 million euros (US$105.1 million)
last year after a loss of 179 million euros (US$229.3 million) in
2003, the first loss since its founding by Napoleon Bonaparte in
It will pay 183 million euros (US$234.4 million) to the government
this year, comprising taxes and a 40 million euro (US$51.2 million)
dividend. The central bank has not paid a dividend in the past two
Noyer, who replaced current European Central Bank (ECB) Chairman
Jean-Claude Trichet as Bank of France chief in October 2003, said he
expects the returns on the bank's reserves to increase this year
because of the "evolution of interest rates in the rest of the
While the ECB has held its benchmark rate at a six-decade low of 2
percent since June 2003, the US Federal Reserve has increased its
key lending rate to 2.75 from 1 percent and has said it will
continue to lift the level to contain inflation.
He declined to comment on rates in the 12 nations that use the euro.
Noyer, who is also a governor of ECB, said the French central bank
currently has about 3,000 tons of gold valued at about 30 billion
euros (US$38.4 billion) in its reserves and about 20 billion euros
(US$25.6 billion) in foreign currencies.
If the bank proceeds with its plan to sell 600 tons of gold, its
reserves would be equally split between gold and currencies in five
years, he said.
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