According to GFMS analysts, Russia’s Central Bank purchased 201 tons of gold in 2016, more than the central bank of any other country. The Bank made its purchases over 11 consecutive months, with purchases accelerating to an average of 36 tons per month between October and November as gold prices fell.
The analysts expect Russia to continue buying large volumes of gold in 2017, predicting about 200 tons in purchases, regardless of fluctuations in gold prices, oil prices and even exchange rates. For comparison, the report estimates the total purchases of gold by other Central Banks to amount to roughly 250 tons for the year.
As of March 1 2017, Russia’s sitting on 1,654.7 tons in gold reserves, making its reserves the sixth-largest in the world, behind the United States, Germany, Italy, France and China.
Commenting on the Central Bank’s moves, economist Valentin Katasonov, professor of the faculty of international finance at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told Russia’s Svobodnaya Pressa online newspaper that the Bank is making the right move.
“The Bank is doing the right thing. Specialists know that the today the price of the precious metal is undervalued, and significantly so. Therefore, investors looking for long-term results are investing in gold,” Katasonov said.
“Of course, from the perspective of the short-term investor, such an investment means possible losses. The gold market includes very large speculators, who periodically reduce prices artificially for some period of time, making it possible for interested investors to buy gold at a lower price. But this market also has its own written and unwritten rules.”
Katasonov reiterated that as far as Russia is concerned, the Central Bank’s decision to stock up on gold is almost exclusively beneficial. “Among other things, it allows us to support the domestic gold mining industry, which in the 1990s and the early 2000s faced a very difficult situation. And what is especially insulting is that most of its output at the time went abroad.”