The Bank of England (BoE) categorically rejected Sunday reports that its stash of gold is losing purity.
"Gold cannot deteriorate and has not done so in the Bank's vaults." a central bank spokesperson said.
The central bank stressed that the purity of the gold in its holdings stands at between 99.5% and 99.9%, which is the she standard set by the London BullionMarket Association (LBMA).
"The purity of the gold held by the Bank has not been questioned by the LBMA," the spokesperson added.
The central bank's unequivocal denial comes after the Times newspaper reported that the BoE's gold is deteriorating and that its purity may be as lowas 91%.
The spokesperson explained that some gold cast into bars in New York about half a century or more ago developed surface cracks at that time, while the metal was cooling immediately after casting.
"This minor issue appears to be behind the inaccurate report," the spokesperson explained.
While these gold bars may have to be melted and cast again, the cost would be "an insignificant proportion of their value and the bars concerned represent a small proportion of the gold held by the Bank," the spokesperson said.
"The issue of lower casting standards at one gold refinery many decades ago is not confined to gold stored at the Bank of England," the spokesperson said succinctly.