Russia buys 839,000 ozs of gold in July as it diversifies reserves from USD
25-ton addition brings Russia’s Central Bank holdings to 1,969 tons; the world's 5th largest gold reserves
Central bank buying Russian gold on Moscow Exchange for now
Russia sees gold’s role as independent currency and safe haven as is a “100% guarantee from legal and political risks”
Russia now has total gold reserves worth just $76 billion; Dumped $90 billion of US Treasuries in April and May
Russia under Putin continues to add to its gold reserves and added another 839,000 ounces or 25 metric tonnes in June. Many analysts believe this buying will continue in the coming months given the very serious geopolitical tensions between Russia and the U.S.
Russia's total gold reserves now amount to 63.3 million ounces or around 1,969 metric tonnes, with a current value of just $76 billion (based on gold at $1,200/0z).
Foreign exchange diversification intensified in April this year and their gold accumulation is averaging over 20 tonnes per month. It is interesting to note that Russia dumped some $90 billion of US Treasuries in April and May - which is significantly more than the value of the entire Russian gold reserves, now worth $76 billion.
Russia’s total foreign exchange reserves are $458 billion and their gold allocation has risen to 17% of their total reserves - even at these depressed gold prices.
This ranks Russia in fifth place globally in terms of gold reserves behind the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, and China.
Russia is also ranked fifth now in terms of gold held as a percentage of total fx reserves. However, the share of gold in Russian foreign exchange reserves is much lower than in many other countries such as the U.S., Italy, and France.
Source: Wikipedia via WGC
The U.S. is believed to have over 8,400 metric tonnes of gold and no foreign exchange reserves. The U.S. gold reserves have not been audited since the 1950s.
In 2014, Russia bought more gold in than in any other year since the break-up of the Soviet Union. The country acquired over 173 metric tonnes according to World Gold Council figures. Russia has bought 130 tons of gold so far in 2018.
Much of the gold bought may have come from Russian gold production which is currently at about 25 metric tonnes per month.
In 2017, Russia was the third largest gold miner in the world at 266.2 tonnes, just six tonnes short of Australia in second place and China in first place.
Thus, the Russian central bank is generally consuming all of Russian gold production and sometimes having to import gold. Therefore, they currently account for all domestic demand for gold.
Russia is an increasingly wealthy nation with a growing middle class, thousands of millionaires and over a hundred billionaires including multi-billionaire oligarchs.
The Russian central bank, senior politicians and policy makers are all on record regarding the importance of gold as a form of financial protection. They believe gold provides invaluable insurance against external factors. Dmitry Tulin, manager of monetary policy at the central bank said of gold:
“The price of it swings, but on the other hand it is a “100% guarantee from legal and political risks”.
Russian gold buying looks set to continue or increase given the heightened financial and geopolitical risks and due to Russia's belief in gold as a form of safe haven money.