Amid a creeping global de-dollarization, Vladimir Putin appears to be the one leading the charge from the precious metal perspective.
As Bloomberg's Yuliya Fedorinova and Olga Tanas report, the Bank of Russia has more than doubled the pace of gold purchases, bringing the share of bullion in its international reserves to the highest of Putin’s 17 years in power, according to World Gold Council data.
Rising at a pace of around 15% per year, Russia's absolute gold horde is at a record high...
In the second quarter alone, it accounted for 38 percent of all gold purchased by central banks.
The gold rush is allowing the Bank of Russia to continue growing its reserves while abstaining from purchases of foreign currency for more than two years.
It’s one of a handful of central banks to keep the faith as global demand for the precious metal fell to a two-year low in the second quarter.
“Gold is an asset that is independent of any government and, in effect, given what is usually held in reserves, any western government,” said Matthew Turner, metals analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London.
“This might appeal given Russia has faced financial sanctions.”
If Russia’s buying continues at a similar pace, the World Gold Council said the full-year increase in 2017 “could closely match” the 200 tons purchased annually in 2015 and 2016.
At its current pace, Moscow will unseat China for the number five spot of gold-holding nations by the first quarter of 2018.
But China is no slouch, as Reuters reports, China’s proven gold reserves reached 12,100 tonnes at the end of 2016, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday quoting an official with the national gold association.
China has been the world’s biggest gold producer for 10 years and the largest consumer of the metal for four years, it said.
China aims to increase its annual gold output to 500 tonnes by 2020 from around 450 tonnes currently, it said.
All of which signals the continued push away from the dollar hegemon and towards a non-dollar-dominant multi-polar order.