Russia has sustained its efforts to stockpile gold as its rouble continues to take a beating on international markets, adding 18.6 tonnes in October, according to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation’s figures.
Russia’s gold reserves now stand at approximately 1,169 tonnes, the figures say, compared with the World Gold Council’s November figures of 1,149.8 tonnes, which takes readings on a two month arrears basis.
The news comes amid a sharp decline in the rouble – down more than 25 percent against the dollar this year, hitting an all-time low at 48.60 – after western countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia following its support of separatists in Ukraine.
The slump in oil prices to around $80 per barrel from nearer $110 at the start of the year has weighed in particular. Western sanctions have deliberately targeted the oil and gas industries, which account for upwards of 40 percent of the Russian government’s income.
Central banks have been looking to shore up their currencies with physical assets that hold high value, buying 93 tonnes of gold in the last quarter the WGC said, down nine percent year-on-year, but the 15th consecutive quarter where they remained net buyers.
Third-quarter gold demand fell two percent year-on-year to 929 tonnes. Overall gold demand remained subdued, but the decline was less severe than the second quarter’s 16-percent drop.
In value terms, third-quarter gold demand of $2.3 billion was down six percent on a year ago.
(Editing by Martin Hayes)