Russia fills coffers with gold & adds $2.5 billion to forex reserves during coronavirus peak

Russian gold and foreign currency holdings have hit $566 billion as of May 1, according to the latest data released by the country’s central bank. International funds grew by $2.53 billion, or 0.4 percent, last month.

The regulator said that currency holdings decreased by 0.8 percent in April, to $440 billion. At the same time, the value of monetary gold rose by 5.2 percent, amounting to over $126 billion.

The state’s international reserves are highly liquid foreign assets comprising stocks of monetary gold, foreign currencies and Special Drawing Right (SDR) assets, which are at the disposal of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) and the government.

The current level of holdings is almost 20 percent higher than the target of $500 billion set by the CBR several years ago.

Russia has been boosting reserves for four years running. Last year, growth totaled nearly $86 billion, while 2018 and 2017 saw increases of around $33 billion and $55 billion respectively.

Over the last several years Russia has been reshaping its international holdings, cutting the share of the US dollar in favor of other currencies and gold. Last year, the Bank of Russia reported that the share of the greenback fell from 43.7 percent to 23.6 percent in twelve months from March 2018.