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31 May, 2019 07:16

Russia’s gold & foreign exchange reserves will soon top $500 billion – Central Bank boss

Russia’s gold & foreign exchange reserves will soon top $500 billion – Central Bank boss

The Central Bank of Russia expects reserves to reach half-a-trillion dollars soon, according to the regulator’s boss, Elvira Nabiullina, who says further accumulation of holdings is part of the national policy.

“The figure of $500 billion is not the goal, that’s just a preliminary ranging mark that should be reached for the reserves to provide an adequate margin of safety for the country’s economy,” Nabiullina told journalists on Thursday.

According to the central bank chief, such volume of gold bullion and foreign currency holdings is enough to tackle crisis-like episodes.

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“We have almost reached that level, and we’ll surpass it in the near future,” the top official said, stressing that the regulator would keep stockpiling as part of its budget strategy.

Earlier this month, the central bank reported that holdings amounted to nearly $492 billion against $487.8 billion seen at the end of March.

State international reserves represent highly-liquid foreign assets comprising stocks of monetary gold, foreign currencies and Special Drawing Right (SDR) assets, which are at the disposal of the Central Bank of Russia and the government.

Russia has been significantly boosting its international reserves in recent years to protect the economy against external and internal shocks, such as leaps in the price of oil, one of the country’s key export earners, currency exchange fluctuations, and further economic sanctions.

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As part of the broader strategy, the central bank opted to gradually diversify international holdings via decreasing its share of US dollars and stockpiling gold bullion to lessen reliance of the economy on the greenback.

At the beginning of May, the World Gold Council (WSG) said that Russia secured the top position among the biggest global purchasers of the yellow metal in the first quarter of the current year. According to the report, the country added 55.3 tons to its vaults, bringing its vast gold reserves to 2,168.3 tons.

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