Russian Central Bank Continues World Leading Gold Acquisition Spree in February

Central Bank of Russia Added 300,000 Ounces (9.33 tons) of Gold To Reserves in February.

Russia’s central bank holdings were at 1654.705 tons of gold at end of February 2017; the sixth most of any nation.

Russian Central Bank has added nearly 175% more gold to reserves than the People’s Bank of China over the past 12 months.

Overall Russian Reserves rose from $390.585 billion in January to $397.334 billion in February.

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Russian Gold Reserves

After adding 6,700,000 ounces (208 tonnes) of gold to her reserves in 2015, the Russian Central Bank added another 6,400,000 ounces 199 tonnes) in 2016.

The Central Bank of Russia ended 2016 with 1614.267 tonnes of gold on their balance sheet.

In February 2017, The Central Bank of Russia added 300,000 ounces (9.331043 tonnes) of gold to her reserves, raising her total to 1654.705 tons or 53.2 million ounces. The Central Bank of Russia added 1,000,000 ounces (31.104 tonnes) of gold in January.

The chart below shows the Central Bank of Russia’s Gold Reserves by month with tonnage rounded to the nearest metric ton.

Since 2009, Russia has nearly 1,000 tons of gold to its reserves more than China who added about 775 tons during the same time period.

Russian Monthly Gold Purchases June 2014 – February 2017

Russian Gold Reserves Monthly additions June 2014 -February 2017

Russia has added 18.5 million ounces (approximately 575 tons) to its reserves from June 2014 through February 2017.

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Russia Adding Gold To Reserves At A Faster Pace Than China

From February 2016 to February 2017 China added 80 tonnes of gold to its reserves, while Russia added 217 tonnes, or 171% more. The People’s Bank of China added no gold to its reserves in November 2016, while Russia added over 31 metric tons. Neither country added to their gold reserves in December 2016.

The People’s Bank of China’s gold reserves as of February 2017 are at the same level as of Novemeber 2016. The Central Bank of Russia added 1.3 million ounces (40.434 tons) of gold from November 2016 to February 2017.

Russian and Chinese central bank monthly gold additions November 2015 - November 2016

Russia has added about 122 more tonnes of gold to its reserves than China from November 2015 – November 2016.

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gold reserves by country - top ten March 20 2017

Russia has the sixth largest gold reserves of any nation.

Overall Russian Reserves

The reserves of the Central Bank of Russian have grown $26 billion or about 7% since January 2016. Rising oil prices, however, may curb Russia’s need to continue to build reserves.

Russia has also overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude oil producer and seller of oil to China.

2016 Russian Reserves

According to the Russian Central Bank, January official reserves assets were $371,559.1 million of which foreign currency reserves were $302,759 million.

In February, official reserves assets grew to $380,544.3 million and foreign currency reserves increased to $311,094.4 million.

In March, official reserves assets grew to $387,008.1 million and foreign currency reserves increased to $317,834.9.

In April, official reserve assets grew to $391,521.1 million and foreign currency reserves increased to $319,000.9 million.

In May official reserve assets fell to 387,716.0 million and foreign currency reserves increased to $319,521.9 million.

In June official reserve assets rose to $392,756.5 million and foreign currency reserves fell to $316,701.3 million.

In July official reserve assets rose to $393,912.5 million and foreign currency reserves fell to $316,179.1 million.

In August official reserve assets rose to $395,198.4 million and foreign currency reserves rose to $318,254.1 million.

In September official reserve assets rose to $397,743.4 million and foreign currency reserves rose to $320,381.3 million.

In October official reserve assets fell to $390,740.9 million and foreign currency reserves fell to $314,824.4 million.

In November official reserve assets fell to $385,288.3 million and foreign currency reserves fell to $312,395.8 million.

In December official reserve assets fell to $377,741.3 million and foreign currency reserves fell to $307,971.4.

In January 2017 official reserve assets rose to $390.585 billion and foreign currency reserves rose to $317,914.2

In February 2017 official reserve assets rose to $397.334 billion and foreign currency reserves rose to $320,573.6 million.

Russian Foreign and Currency Reserves 2016-2017

Gold represented about $66.8 billion of Russia’s overall reserves at the end of February 2017, or about 17%.

Russian Foreign Reserves January 2016 - January 2017

chinese foreign reserves January 2017


Russian U.S. Treasury Holdings

Russia’s U.S. Treasury Bond Holdings January 2014-January 2017

The Russian Central Bank has increased its US Treasury reserve holdings selling off a good portion of them in the summer of 2015.

As of January 2017, Russia held $86.2 billion in U.S. Treasury Bonds down from $131.8 billion in January 2014 but up from $66.5 billion in April 2015.

Russian Central Bank Treasury holdings 2016-2017 january

Russia held $86.2 billion in U.S. Treasury bond holdings as of January 2017, down 35% from January 2014.

Russian holdings of US Treasuries January 2014 - December 2016

Chinese Holdings of US Treasury Securities

China held $1058.4 billion in U.S. Treasury bond holdings as of December, 2016, down 17% from January 2014.

Russia has less than 10% of the amount of US Treasury Securities as China.

Roubles For Gold

Increasingly, Russia has been buying up more of their gold mining production, in effect converting roubles into gold.

Russian gold mining vs gold reserves 2006-2016

Russia is retaining an increasing percentage of its gold mining output.

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Further reading on Russia’s gold production:

Russia’s VTB bank to supply 15-20 T of gold to China in next 12 months Russia to increase gold production

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Further Reading:

Russian Gold Reserves (monthly archive)

Russia’s U.S. Treasury Holdings vs. Gold Reserves

Top Foreign Holders of U.S. Treasuries

Gold Repatriation Requests (updated regularly)

Gold Supply and Demand

The Importance of Gold

The Smaulgld Gold Buying Guide

Gold Reserves By Country – Top 20

Russia, Ukraine and the Dollar

Are Russia and China Moving Against the Dollar

Gold and Silver Price Manipulation – Suspected

Gold and Silver Price Manipulation – Actual

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  • Robert Happek

    The interesting question is whether this gold accumulation is exclusively from Russian mines and refiners or whether this gold was partly bought on world markets using Dollars which Russia got from selling other commodities (oil for instance).

    Buying gold from Russian mines, the central bank pays with Rubles, a currency it can print freely. So buying Russian gold could be a very clever central bank policy to inflate the money supply in Russia without endangering inflation.

    For a country with a GDP just 10% of the US GDP, the accumulation of 1,600 tons of gold is a remarkable achievement. Once they reach 4,000 tons they will be on par with the US on a per capita basis.

    • Smaulgld

      There is a chart above that shows Russian central bank additions compared to domestic gold mining production. I make the point they are indeed turning roubles into gold

  • Robert Happek

    By the way, it does not really make sense to compare the gold holdings of the IMF with the gold holdings of states. The IMF is not a state and it does not have any productive economy which could acquire gold. If I remember correctly, all IMF holdings are transfers of gold to the IMF from member states.

    The IMF is also not controlled by any country.

    If the IMF is included, then the gold jewelry of Indian women should also be included (more than 20 thousands tons of gold).

    • Smaulgld

      You are correct, the IMF gold was accumulated from member states. The IMF was formed out of the BW agreements and basically is run by the US. I include the IMF and ECB holdings for informational purposes but I dont count them in ranking the countries. It’s important to list them as an entity that holds gold as reserves. Check out the India and silver archives- Will be posting more today https://smaulgld.com/tag/india-and-silver/
      I’ve white listed your account so you dont have to wait for moderation

  • Robert Happek

    My last comment: The big question is of course to what extent are the published numbers about gold reserves fact and not fiction. For instance, in the case of Germany, it turned out that until a few years ago, they basically had no gold in Germany. Most of their holdings were in the US. When asking to inspect their holdings at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York a few years ago, they were refused access to their gold by the Fed raising the question whether the German gold holdings were real at that time. Some countries may have an interest to publish lower reserve numbers (China), other countries may have a desire to inflate their true numbers.

    There is also the question about total gold mined since the beginning of time. Somebody estimated that amount to be close to 170 thousand tons of gold. Given the general secrecy about gold holdings among governments and even more among private citizens, there is no reason to believe that this figure is accurate. I would almost say, the true figure is unknowable in principle.

    • Smaulgld

      You are correct. There really is no way of knowing who has how much gold or how much gold there really is. The WGC says there are 170,000 tons mined since man started accumulating gold.
      Here is the supposed state of Germany’s gold: https://smaulgld.com/tag/german-gold-repatriation/

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