MOSCOW, Russia – Russia has entered the list of the 5 countries with the largest gold reserves in the world by acquiring 8.8 tons in 2018.
Russian gold reserves increased by 14.9% to reach 2,112 tonnes, based on data published by the Russian Central Bank.
According to Reuters, this achievement allowed Russia to topple China from fifth place in the list of countries with the largest gold reserves. In December 2018, the country’s reserves reached 1689 tons.
Russia is currently behind the US, Germany, France and Italy on the list.
A source in the Russian gold industry, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Reuters that sanctions from the West had led the Russian central bank to increase its gold reserves.
According to the agency’s interlocutor, gold is the safest asset because it can not be frozen or blacklisted. In addition, Russia intends to “diversify” assets in US currency.
Earlier, Russia’s central bank reported that it significantly reduced its dollar assets between June 2017 and the same month of 2018.
This comes as Russia reinforces national reserves with shares in yuan, euro and yen.
The measure came after Moscow signaled a willingness to reduce its dependence on the dollar, noting that there are no plans to restrict transactions in the US currency.
Russia has stated that the goal of dedollarization is to improve the integrity of the Russian economy by protecting itself from the wave of US sanctions.
At the end of July 2018, the Russian Central Bank reduced the dollar portion of its international reserves to 24.4%, while increasing its shares in euros and yuan to 32% and 14.7%, respectively, according to valuations banking services.
At the same time, the regulator increased the share of several other currencies from 12.4% to 14.7%, including UK pounds, Japanese yen, Canadian and Australian dollars, as well as Swiss francs.
According to the survey, the highest yield among the currency asset portfolios between June 2017 and June 2018 was demonstrated by the yuan at 3.2% per annum while the yield of the US dollar was 0.35% . Already the volume of foreign currency and gold assets of the Central Bank of Russia increased from US $ 40.4 billion to US $ 458.1 billion in the same period.
With regard to US sanctions and attempts to use the dollar as an instrument of pressure, at the end of November, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked that the United States “is not shooting in the foot, but rather a little higher.”