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Bloomberg News: Russia for First Time Holds More Gold Than U.S. Dollars in $583 Billion Reserves

January 12, 2021

Article by Natasha Doff and Anna Andrianova in Bloomberg News

A multi-year drive to reduce exposure to U.S. assets has pushed the share of gold in Russia’s $583 billion international reserves above dollars for the first time on record.

Gold made up 23% of the central bank’s stockpile as of the end of June 2020, the latest date for which data on the breakdown is available, according to a report published late Monday. The share of dollar assets dropped to 22%, down from more than 40% in 2018.

The shift is part of a broader strategy outlined by President Vladimir Putin to “de-dollarize” the Russian economy and lower its vulnerability to U.S. sanctions amid deteriorating relations with Washington. Gold is now the second-biggest component of the central bank’s reserves after the euro, which makes up about of a third of total assets. About 12% of the stash is in yuan.

The increase in Russia’s gold reserves was aided by a 26% surge in prices between June 2019 and June 2020. The central bank also bought $4.3 billion worth of the precious metal over the period, according to the report.

Russia spent more than $40 billion building a war chest of gold over the past five years, making it the world’s .....

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