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Russia expanded gold reserves for 8th month amid ruble rout

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Anna Andrianova and Laura Clarke
Bloomberg News
Friday, December 19, 2014

Russia, the world's fifth-biggest gold holder, added to its hoard for an eighth month even after having to use its international reserves on defending the ruble.

The gold stockpile rose to 38.2 million ounces as of Dec. 1 from 37.6 million ounces a month earlier, the central bank said today on its website. Its value in dollar terms fell by $85 million. Total reserves shrank by $9.7 billion in November to $418.9 billion, the lowest level since 2009.

"Physical volumes are increasing but their dollar value is not changing that much because the gold price has fallen," Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Financial Group in Moscow, said before the release. "Many central banks are buying gold since the price for gold has fallen." ...

"I cannot imagine that Russia has sold gold or would sell gold, unless its foreign-exchange reserve are depleted," Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said by phone. "Gold is the final bullet, because gold is a store of value and outside of the dollar system and not subject to sanctions."

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