Venezuela pulls $1.5 billion from its IMF reserves

jueves 9 de julio de 2015 10:20 GYT

CARACAS, July 9 (Reuters) - Venezuela withdrew close to $1.5 billion from an IMF holding account in June, according to the fund's website, improving the liquidity of the OPEC nation's currency reserves, which have steadily declined since last year's oil market rout.

Venezuela holds reserves with the International Monetary Fund in an instrument known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR), a basket of international currencies made up of the euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling, and U.S. dollar.

The operation last month converted SDR reserves into more liquid holdings that could be used to import products or make debt service payments. It did not change the total amount of reserves that Venezuela holds, which this week slipped below $16 billion for the first time since 2003.

Venezuela's central bank did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

Venezuela withdrew some $380 million in SDRs in April.

As of June, its balance of SDRs stood at an equivalent to $1.28 billion at last month's average exchange rate of 1.4 SDRs per dollar.

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

The 2014 collapse in oil prices and a shrinking economy have spurred investor concerns that the country may default on its foreign debt. President Nicolas Maduro dismisses such talk as a campaign against his socialist government, noting that it has never missed a bond payment. (Reporting by Corina Rodriguez and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Paul Simao)