Ecuador has agreed to transfer half of its gold reserves to Goldman Sachs in return for $580 million of highly liquid financial assets.

The Central Bank will send 466,000 ounces of gold to Goldman Sachs on the proviso the gold will be returned to the South American country in three years’ time. According to industry insiders the deal should generate Ecuador between $16 million to $20 million dollars in profit.

The deal comes at the same time the Ecuadorian government is attempting to cover a $4.94 billion budget deficit. Ecuador was effectively shut out of the international debts markets in 2009 when the government decided to default on $3.2 billion of debt

The Central Bank declined to provide any specific details regarding the agreement or the amount of fees which will be paid to Goldman Sachs.