For the past 10 years, Russia has increased its gold reserves at an average pace of about 300,000 ounces per month – more than tripling its reserves since 2005. In 2014 the country acquired 172 tons of gold, and another 208 tons in 2015. Just last October, the Russian central bank added 48 tons of gold to its reserves – almost a fourth of what they buy annually, condensed into a single month!
This marks the largest addition of gold to the Russian monetary reserves since 1998, and the biggest monthly gold purchase of any country this century. The purchase seems to be part of an ongoing strategy to hedge against currency markets and economic uncertainty. Analysts have also suggested that the combination of a strong ruble and low gold prices prompted Russia to make the large purchase.
It’s also worth noting that Russia is one of the world’s top-producers of gold with an annual production average of about 220 tons. According to the World Gold Council, only the central banks of the U.S., Germany, Italy, France and China currently hold larger gold reserves than Russia. If the country continues to make record-breaking gold purchases, they may move up in those rankings.