Russia Adds Another Big Tranche of Gold to its Reserves
Russia continues to close the gap on China as being the world’s fifth-largest holder of gold in its official reserves. In March, figures from the Russian central bank show that it added some 800,000 ounces—24.9 tonnes—to its gold reserves, bringing them to around 1,679 tonnes, 164 tonnes light of China’s officially reported figure. China has not added to its gold reserves since October, so if this pattern continues Russia could surpass China’s official gold reserve figure by the end of 2017.
Russia’s March figure is higher than the 9.3 tonnes it added to its reserves in February, but well below the 31.1 tonnes it added in January after a zero-addition month in December last year. Overall the nation has added a little over 65 tonnes in Q1, which is commensurate with taking in virtually all its mined gold over the period. Last year, Russia mined some 274.4 tonnes of gold, so the Q1 figure reported is just short of a quarter of the 2016’s total.
While it appears that Russia may be catching up with China in terms of total reported gold reserves, perhaps one shouldn’t take the Chinese figures at face value, and they may indeed be far higher than the official figures suggest. China has a track record of under-reporting its gold reserves and only started announcing its purported monthly gold reserve increases in July 2015, ahead of the renminbi’s inclusion in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights in October 2016, supposedly in the light of transparency.