Russia gains gold to diversify reserves, not to distrust dollar, central banker says


By Matt Clinch
CNBC, New York
Friday, April 26, 2019

Russia's gold-buying surge over the past year is simply down to a wish to diversify its portfolio of reserves, the central bank governor told CNBC today.

The country overtook China last year to become the world's fifth largest official sector holder of gold. The central bank bought 8.8 million troy ounces of bullion last year, beating a record 7.2 million ounces set in 2017, and fresh data continues to show that the buying hasn't stopped.

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Experts have speculated that Western sanctions could have caused the move, with the safe-haven asset being exempt from any possibility of blacklisting. Others suggest Russia wants to reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar, or is shying away from the euro or the pound, which have seen their values fall due to policy easing and Brexit, respectively.

But Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of Russia's central bank, told CNBC's Geoff Cutmore in Moscow that "diversification" was the key reason behind the purchases, not a lack of trust for any specific currency. ...

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