Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Russia passes Japan to become world’s eighth-largest gold bullion holder

In addition to being one of the world’s largest diamond producers, Russia became the world’s eighth-largest official gold bullion holder last year after adding 135 tonnes of gold to its reserves in the first 11 months of 2010, including 9 tonnes in November, the World Gold Council (WGC) reported.

The gold purchases pushed Russia past Japan into eighth place in the gold reserves table, the WGC said in a statement. Central banks around the world have been increasing their gold holdings in recent years following the global financial crisis in 2008 and ongoing financial concerns.

As a result, the price of gold jumped almost 30 percent in 2010, hitting a record high of $1,430.95 an ounce, although it has since slipped back.

Although officials at Russia’s central bank have said the country would increase gold reserves with purchases of at least 100 tonnes annually, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said it would do so from its domestic mine production rather than via gold imports.

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