According to a report by Ernest Hoffman for Kitco News published yesterday, data from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) International Financial Statistics (IFS) reveals that Russia’s Central Bank increased its gold reserves in August 2023. The reserves have apparently returned to their initial levels at the start of the year, at 2,333 tonnes. This information was confirmed by Krishan Gopaul, a senior analyst at the World Gold Council, via a post on X (the micro-blogging platform formerly known as Twitter):
Kitco News reports that Russia is bolstering its gold reserves to mitigate the impact of Western economic sanctions, particularly those related to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Their article also states that Russia is considering the support of a gold-backed BRICS currency, but it has had to utilize these reserves for international transactions and to cover budget deficits.
In May 2023, according to Kitco News, Russia’s Central Bank liquidated four tonnes of gold and 2.59 billion yuan (approximately USD $365 million) from the National Wealth Fund (NWF) accounts. The proceeds were used to finance the country’s budget deficit, which it says reached 3.4 trillion rubles (around USD $42 billion) in the first four months of the year, largely due to reduced energy revenues.
Kitco News also mentioned that in March, Russia’s Central Bank sold 3.1 tonnes of gold as gold prices began to rally. It went on to say that previously undisclosed data on Russia’s monthly gold holdings dating back to February 2022 was also released, showing an increase of 28 tonnes during that period.
Some analysts have generally welcomed the more detailed data but have raised questions about Russia’s gold production and its end useDaniel McCarthy, a strategist at DailyFX.com, told Kitco News that Russia and China might be accumulating gold reserves to support a new currency that could challenge the U.S. dollar.
Finally, Kitco’s news said Russia is set to assume the BRICS chairmanship on January 1, fueling anticipation that Russian President Vladimir Putin might make a significant currency-related announcement at the next BRICS summit, which is scheduled for October 2024.
Featured Image via Midjourney