27 Nov 2011

Gold back in Venezuela

6:15 am on 27 November 2011

Venezuela has received its first shipment of gold bars, after President Hugo Chavez ordered the repatriation of 85% of the country's bullion reserves.

The gold was unloaded from a plane and taken under heavy guard to the Central Bank in the capital, Caracas.

President Chavez has explained the move as an act of sovereignty that will protect Venezuela's reserves from global economic turbulence. However, critics say it is expensive and unnecessary.

The BBC reports Venezuela plans to bring home around 160 tonnes of gold, worth more than $US11 billion.

Hundreds of troops lined the route to Caracas as a convoy of armoured security trucks escorted by military vehicles carried the bullion to the bank.

Most of Venezuela's foreign gold reserves are held in London.