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Gokhran Sells $1Bln In Gold

The Central Bank bought 30 metric tons of gold from state precious metals and gems depository Gokhran for about $1 billion, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

The purchased gold will not increase the bank’s bullion reserve because Gokhran’s holdings are already counted as part of Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves, said a Finance Ministry official who declined to be identified, citing ministry policy. The Finance Ministry oversees Gokhran.

The pricing of gold was determined by the closing price on the London Metal Exchange the evening before the sale, the official said, declining to specify when the transaction took place. The ministry officially approved the sale Dec. 17.

The Central Bank said Dec. 18 that it increased its gold holdings by 1 percent last month. The bullion reserve rose to 19.7 million ounces in November after gaining 2.6 percent to 19.5 million ounces the previous month.

Gold’s share in the country’s reserves increased faster in 2009 than in prior years, Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev said Nov. 18.

Russia’s reserves, the world’s third-biggest stockpile, declined $7.5 billion in the week ended Dec. 11 to $443.7 billion — the biggest weekly drop since July.

Gold for immediate delivery was up 0.1 percent at $1,115.70 by 5:19 p.m. in Moscow.

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