Baku, Sep 19: The Azerbaijan State Oil Fund has bought 10 tonnes of gold to increase the diversification and profitability of its investment portfolio, the Fund’s CEO Shakhmar Movsumov said here.
According to Movsumov, for the moment the gold purchased is stored in London’s LBMA banks, and will be delivered to Azerbaijan soon.
“The Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund asked the cabinet to exempt the gold bars from customs duties. The import of gold into the country will begin after the cabinet’s decision. Gold will be stored in a special storage of the country’s Central Bank,” he said.
Movsumov said the Fund’s main investment plans target major oil projects and real estate.
The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan has accumulated more than $29 billion since its foundation in 1999 as a storehouse for the country’s oil export revenues and earnings from transit pipeline fees.
Officials have been pushing the government to sanction a more liberal investment policy since the global financial crisis struck in 2008.
The fund’s mission is to store wealth for future generations after Azerbaijan’s oil runs out and act as a buffer in the event of economic shocks. However, the government also uses the fund to bridge the large gap between non-oil budget revenues and public spending.
More than $11 billion were transferred from the fund to the state budget last year to help finance infrastructure projects. Transfers are expected to be even higher this year as the government presses ahead with new irrigation schemes, a new railway line across Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Turkish frontier and housing for refugees.