Russia Gold-Buying Frenzy Continues

Russia Gold-Buying Frenzy Continues
The Russian government has been amassing large quantities of gold, buying up all of its domestic production, like that which comes from the Tayrn Gold Mine in the arctic region, and has been accelerating its purchase rate for a decade.

Experts are suggesting Russia’s gold-buying ways aren’t likely to end anytime soon, and it may shortly surpass China as having the fifth-largest reserves in the world.

As Bloomberg reports:

[T]he 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 Mr. Putin's 17 years in power, according to World Gold Council data.

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. But what may matter most is that gold is as geopolitics-proof an investment as any in the age of sanctions and a deepening rift with the US.

"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 in London. "This might appeal given Russia has faced financial sanctions."

Besides being the largest official buyer of gold, Russia is also among the world's three biggest producers, with the central bank purchasing from domestic miners through commercial banks and not in the open market.

Since starting to accelerate bullion purchases in 2007, Russia's holdings have more than quadrupled to 1,556 tonnes (1,715 short tons) at the end of June, just behind China and more than Turkey, India and Mexico combined, bringing its share in Russia's $427 billion (€361 billion) reserves to near 17 percent.

At that pace, the World Gold Council expects Russia’s full-year increase in 2017 will “closely match” 2015 and 2016.

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