"Russia was again the largest buyer, adding 55.3t in Q1. This brought gold reserves to 2,168.3t (19% of total reserves). Russia bought 274.3t in 2018 — the fourth consecutive year of +200t increases – while drastically reducing its US Treasury holdings, as part of its ‘de-dollarisation’ drive," the WGC said in a report issued on Thursday.
Overall, net buying by central banks across the world reached the highest level of the first quarter net purchases since 2013, having increased by 68 percent year-on-year to 145.5 tonnes, according to the statistics.
In 2016, the Central Bank of Russia became the world's leading purchaser of gold when it bought 356,000 ounces of the precious metal in February, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).