Russia’s bullion holdings totaled 2,208 tonnes, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) reported, estimating the value of its gold reserves at $100.3 billion as of 1 July. In June alone, Russia added 18 tonnes of the precious metal to its mountain of gold, keeping up with the recent efforts to de-dollarise its foreign exchange reserves.
Moscow has increased its stockpiles of the precious metal by 96.4 tonnes since the beginning of the year. In May, April and March, more than 6, around 16, and 18 tons respectively were purchased. However, February still holds the record with 31 tonnes added to the gold reserves.
The 2018 shopping spree, however, exceeded this year’s tempo with Moscow purchasing a record-breaking 275 tonnes in 2018, making it the largest amount of gold bought in a single year, the World Gold Council concluded.
Increasing its bullion holdings, Russia is also decreasing its share of US Treasury securities. Russia’s US debt stocks dropped to $12.024 billion, which is the lowest level since May 2007. These reserves sank 85%, dropping from $96.9 billion to $13.2 billion just last year.
Moscow has previously criticised the US for "abusing" the reserve status of its currency, warning that doing so could backfire. During the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the US, noting that the dollar has become “a tool for the issuing country to put pressure on the rest of the world”, and argued that the global role of this currency should be reconsidered.
Russia is one among several states promoting a shift from the dollar to national currencies in bilateral trade. The trend of abandoning the dollar has notably been seen in a recent report on the economies of the BRICS countries, which have reduced the use of the greenback in mutual trade by 20%.