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  Words in the News
  Many governments are queueing up to sell off their reserves. Mark Fisher of the BBC's Business Unit reported on how gold now seems to be out of favour, and Greg Barrow looked at the South Africa gold mining industry.
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gold bars

8th July 1999

Gold sell-off and falling prices

NEWS 1   "About one-quarter of the world’s gold is held by governments, so any sign that they’re losing interest in it is bound to depress the price. London is the global financial centre for trading in gold, so now that Britain is selling it off, people are wondering who will be next. Gold’s detractors say that it just isn’t relevant anymore, that its ancient role as a safe way to store wealth has been undermined by the rise of modern financial markets in shares and currencies. But supporters of gold say it would only take a big financial crisis in the Western world for everyone to remember what a reliable investment gold really is, and start buying it back." from Mark Fisher of the BBC’s Business Unit

depress the price: cause the price to fall

Britain is selling it off: to sell off means to sell something, often cheaply, in order to sell quickly

detractors: noun describing a critical person who tries to make something appear less valuable or worthwhile

undermined: past participle of the verb 'to undermine' - to make something less secure or less strong

NEWS 2  

The South African gold mining industry is ailing. In a country which owes much of its economic strength to this precious metal, the dramatic fall in world-wide gold prices has delivered a blow to the future of tens of thousands of people employed in the mines and the families who depend on their earnings. The industry will be keeping a close watch on gold prices as the British government begins the process of selling off more than half of its gold reserves. There is also trepidation about plans by the International Monetary Fund to sell gold to fund debt relief in the world’s poorest countries.


ailing: the verb 'to ail' means to be in discomfort or pain for a long period of time

keeping a close watch on: monitoring closely (as common is the expression to keep an eye on)

trepidation: a feeling of anxiety and alarm

    Read more on gold in BBC News Online

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