In April 2011, Executive Directors held a preliminary discussion on the use of the profits of SDR 6.85 billion from the Fund’s limited gold sale. They noted their expectation that at least SDR 4.4 billion of the profits would be placed in an endowment within the Investment Account, and affirmed their support for the 2009 financing package for low-income countries (LICs), including the distribution to the Fund’s membership of up to SDR 0.7 billion from the profits linked to gold sales, with the expectation that most members will return equivalent funds to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). There was a wide range of views among Directors on the three main options presented for the windfall of SDR 1.75 billion, but no consensus favoring a single option. The main options presented included use of resources linked to the windfall to boost the capacity of the PRGT, counting the windfall towards precautionary balances, or investing the windfall profits as part of the Investment Account’s endowment. Many Directors indicated that they could support a combination of two or more of the main options.
In December 2010, the Fund concluded the limited gold sale (403 metric tons) approved by the Board in September 2009. The main purpose of the sale was to generate profits to fund an endowment that would diversify the Fund’s income sources away from lending income.
In addition, the Board agreed in July 2009, before approving the sale, to a strategy pursuant to which resources linked to the gold sale would contribute to boosting the Fund’s concessional lending capacity.
Total profits from the gold sale were SDR 6.85 billion. The profits significantly exceeded those assumed in April 2008 when agreement was reached on the key features of the new income model, and in July 2009 at the time of the discussions on a financing package to support reform of the Fund’s concessional lending activities. This reflects the substantial increase in the market price of gold throughout the period of the gold sales. With the gold sale complete, it is timely for the Board to revisit the issues relating to the use of the profits.
This paper seeks to provide a basis for initial Board consideration of this topic. It focuses primarily on the options for use of the windfall profits above a price of US$935 per ounce, which was the average price required to generate resources for the endowment at the assumed gold price underlying the new income model and to implement the agreed strategy to provide SDR 0.5–0.6 billion in resources linked to gold sales as part of the 2009 concessional financing package.