Gold News

Gold Bars "Sold by North Korea to China": Claim

Un-named sources give conflicting news on sales of gold bars...
 
NORTH KOREA has been selling gold bars to neighboring China in a bid to raise urgent cash against its worsening economy, a news agency reports today.
 
Citing an un-named source, and not putting any figures on the apparent gold sales, Yonhap News says the secretive Communist state – locked out of world trade by international sanctions since 2005 – has been selling gold bullion bars for "several months".
 
"Overseas sales of gold are a barometer," says the source, "of whether the North Korean economy is in a crisis or not."
 
This marks "the first time" says Yonhap that the North Korean dictatorship has sold gold bars from its reserves under the current supreme leading, Kim Jong-un, who took power after his father, Kim Jong-il, died of a heart attack in December 2011.
 
September 2012 however saw South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo report gold bullion sales of two tonnes by the North in September 2012, raising $100 million.
 
Again citing an un-named source, it claimed that an agency known as Room 39, which manages Kim Jong-un's private wealth, was then working with the People's Armed Forces to sell gold from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
 
"They are selling not only gold that was produced since December [2011], when Kim Jong-un came to power," the source said in that report, "but also gold bars from the country's reserves and bought from its people."
 
Thirty years after being approved as meeting the Good Delivery standards of the London bullion market, center of the world's wholesale trade, gold bars produced by the Central Bank of the DPRK were moved to the "former list" in 2006. That means they remain acceptable in form and appearance, but it doesn't trump the market's compliance with international sanctions against the regime.
 
Over the 10 years ending 1993, the central bank sold " an average of one tonne a month on the London market," according to the Christian Science Monitor.
 
Data from the US Geological Survey most recently put North Korean gold mining output at 2 tonnes per year. Estimates say that under the Communist regime, North Korea's mining industry is running at just 30% of capacity.
 
Asia-Pacific consultancy the Nautilius Institute reckons the DPRK's unmined gold deposits total perhaps 2,000 tonnes.

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