Russia Now Has Eighth Largest Gold Reserves Globally


"Russia adds 135 tons in 2010 to surpass Japan in gold reserves."

Russia added 135 tons of gold to its reserves in the first 11 months of last year, including 9 tons in November, to become the world's eighth largest official sector bullion holder, the World Gold Council said on Friday.

The WGC said in a statement that with these additional purchases, Russia has surpassed Japan in gold reserves. Central banks' interest in gold has risen in recent years as the global financial crisis boosted gold's appeal as a haven from risk.

This has in turn helped support prices of the precious metal, which rose nearly 30% last year, hitting record highs at $1,430.95 an ounce.

"This week, Deputy Chairman Georgy Luntovsky of the Central Bank of Russia indicated that gold reserves at the bank increased by 280 tons over the past two years and would continue to grow at a similar speed, with purchases of at least 100 tons every year," Bank Natixis said in a research note.

"Russia seeks to do so through domestic mine production and not imports, as was implied by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in recent comments," it added.

Russia was expected to be the world's fifth largest gold producer last year behind China, Australia, the United States and South Africa, metals consultancy GFMS said, with output of 205.2 tons.

The WGC added that gold sales from eurozone central banks had amounted to less than 1 ton in the second year of the Central Bank Gold Agreement to date, which started in late September. Annual sales under the CBGA are capped at 400 tons.

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