Russian banks increased their holdings of precious metals by more than a quarter during August, taking their reserves to the highest level on record, news site RBC reported Tuesday.
Russian lenders’ precious metal holdings, measured in terms of their equivalent weight and value in gold, stood at 121 tonnes — more than 10% more than the previous record level recorded in October 2019 and worth around $7.5 billion, the news site said, citing statistics from the Central Bank
Banks added more than 23 tonnes to their reserves over the month of August, which saw a spike in volatility on the Russian financial markets as neighboring Belarus was plunged into political crisis and the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny raised the prospect of a new round of sanctions.
Gold prices hit a record high in August, passing the $2,000-per-ounce mark for the first time ever. They have since slipped back, but the metal is still up by around a third this year.
August was the fourth consecutive month in which Russia’s banks increased their precious metal reserves — a move analysts said was taken in response to the growth of the coronavirus in Russia.