Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez confirmed plans to keep the country's foreign currency reserves in the banks of allied countries, including Russia.
Chavez made the statement a day after opposition lawmaker Julio Montoya said Venezuela may transfer its foreign currency reserves from European and U.S. banks to financial institutions in Russia, China and Brazil and recall its massive gold reserves from foreign banks.
"U.S. and European economies are sinking. So it's time to test how solid the economies of China, Russia and Brazil are," the Venezuelan leader said in a phone interview with the state-run VTV channel.
"And the gold should be returned to our vaults, to set an example for our neighbors," he said. "We are going to do it gradually, using a technique used worldwide to bring the gold, because they are physical bars that were deposited and we must certify that they are the same ones."
He said the move will benefit the country's international reserves "ahead of the looming global capitalist crisis."
As of August 8, Venezuela was among the countries with the largest gold reserves, with 365 metric tons of gold worth over $18.3 billion. More than half of the gold was kept abroad. The country's international reserves stood at about $6.3 billion, including 59.17% in Swiss banks, 17.9% deposited in the United Kingdom, 11.31% in the United States and 6.48% in France.