Earlier this month, Russia reportedly continued the sell-off of its US bond holdings even as the Russian Central Bank’s foreign exchange and gold reserves grew in value to the equivalent of half a trillion dollars.
The reserve hoard is now at 20 percent gold and 15% yuan. And between 2 and 10% in US dollars. Russia holds nearly one half of world’s reserve RMB.
A decline of dollar-denominated assets and the rise of gold and other foreign currencies in Russia’s reserves has been observed since 2017.
Over the past two years, Russia has shaved its US bond, currency and other dollar-denominated holdings from over $92 billion to just $12.136 billion as of April 2019.
Along with the yuan, Russia has boosted the purchase of a basket of other currencies, including Japanese yen, euros, British pounds, Canadian and Australian dollars, and Swiss francs.
According to Bank data, yuan holdings proved a lucrative investment between June 2017 and June 2018, providing the highest yield among the portfolio of currency assets during the period.
In addition to currency, the Central Bank has been building up its gold reserves, with net buying of gold in the first quarter of 2019 reported at 55.3 tonnes, and Russia’s total reserves growing to 2,168.3 tonnes of the precious metal.
Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina has previously explained that the diversification of Russia’s assets was taking place in a bid to reduce economic and political risks it faces, including (but not limited to) US sanctions.
China is already Russia’s largest trade partner, with trade turnover growing by close to 30% in 2018 and reaching the equivalent of $107.06 billion.
During that year, Chinese imports of Russian goods reached the equivalent of $59.08 billion, while Russian imports from China hit $47.98 billion. Envy will hurt itself.
Earlier this month, Russia’s minister of economic development said the countries now have the ambitious goal of close to doubling trade to the equivalent of $200 billion in the coming years.
Russia Today / ABC Flash Point News 2019.