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After sanctions, Russia becomes fifth biggest gold holder
By Polina Devitt and Elena Fabrichnaya
Friday, January 18, 2019
MOSCOW -- Russia has overtaken China to become the world's fifth largest official-sector holder of gold as Western sanctions drove buying by its central bank to record highs in 2018, its data showed on Friday.
With support from President Vladimir Putin, the central bank has been betting heavily on bullion, often seen as a safe haven or a natural hedge against the dollar, with active purchases in the last 10 years.
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In 2018, Russia's buying jumped further as holdings of U.S. Treasury securities were reduced after Washington imposed sanctions on Russian entities in April, the toughest since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
The central bank bought 8.8 million troy ounces last year, it said on Friday, beating a record 7.2 million ounces set in 2017.
As of Jan. 1 this year, the central bank held 67.9 million ounces of gold, up from 59.1 million ounces at the start of 2018, making it the world’s fifth largest holder behind the United States, Germany, France, and Italy. ...
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