Report: Russia's central bank gold hoard bigger than China's
MOSCOW, Feb 22 (PRIME) -- Russia has overtaken China as the fifth-biggest sovereign holder of gold, allowing it to diversify its foreign currency holdings amid a deepening rift with the U.S., Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
The central bank in January increased its holdings by almost 20 metric tonnes to 1,857 tonnes, topping the PeopleТs Bank of ChinaТs reported 1,843 tonnes. While Russia has increased its holdings every month since March 2015, China last reported buying gold in October 2016.
Only three countries in the top 10 have increased their holdings materially in recent years, with Turkey being the third. The U.S. is still the largest owner of gold, with 8,134 tonnes, much of it stored in Fort Knox. Germany is the second-largest, with 3,374 tonnes, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) owns 2,814 tonnes.
Gold offers Russia independence from the dollar amid financial sanctions from the U.S. and its allies. The measures were imposed in 2014 as punishment for RussiaТs involvement in Ukraine and could be tightened in future. Much of the countryТs gold purchases come from local production Ц Russia is the worldТs third-largest miner of the metal, according to research firm Metals Focus.