11:57 GMT11 July 2020
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    Miners have hitherto been obliged to secure special permits for exporting gold bullion from the country, but now the procedure has been noticeably eased, as gas and oil exports have been crippled by the coronavirus crunch.

    Russia will start issuing general licences to miners for free exports of gold bars, a government decree cited by the Russian media maintains, thereby easing previous restrictions that had required miners to apply for a permit for each and every bullion export.

    The decision was made after months of lobbying by miners, at a time when oil and gas prices have nosedived in an unprecedented coronavirus-induced crisis.

    The move enables miners to sell the precious metal directly, without turning to commercial - largely state - banks, which is understood to enforce the market infrastructure and keep up demand on the foreign market.

    Until last year, all the locally produced gold was bought by the Bank Russia.

    The country minted a total of 367.9 tonnes of bullion in 2019, which, given the current prices, may yield around 20.2 billion dollars for the national economy. Last week, gold prices soared to a record high since November 2012, according to data published by CME Group, the world's largest financial derivatives exchange. Gold futures traded at around $1,568.5 an ounce last week, following the US Federal Reserve’s announcement about its $2.3 trillion stimulus package aimed at containing the financial crisis.

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, coronavirus, oil, gas, bullion, gold
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