Venezuela is reaching for its last card as the deck collapses on President Nicolas Maduro’s failed regime.

The country is selling its gold in order to provide liquidity for imports of basic goods.

ou know your regime’s days are numbered when you start eyeing your bullion. Indeed gold’s status as store of value, as money, the only currency available when yours is worthless, has come into play with respect to the crisis that has been unfolding in Venezuela over the last couple of years and appears to be reaching its peak.

The mysterious plane

On Tuesday a Venezuelan politician tweeted that a Russian Boeing 777 had landed in Caracas intending to transport 20 tons of gold stored in the central bank.

While Jose Guerra couldn’t provide any evidence of the bullion haul worth about $840 million, or 20% of its central bank reserves, Bloomberg confirmed it. “Separately, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News that 20 tons of gold have been set aside in the central bank for loading,” the news outlet reported.

On Friday however the Maduro regime canceled the shipment.

Where could the gold have been going? We don’t know but we can make an educated guess, based on Venezuela’s recent gold transactions. Swiss trade data (Venezuela used to sell gold to Switzerland) reveals that Venezuela exported almost 100% of $2 billion in gold exports, over the last two years, to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates ($1.1 billion to UAE and $901 million to Turkey). In November the country was reportedly planning to sell 15 tonnes to the UAE in return for cash euros; Russia has also received Venezuelan gold.