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Russia’s gold & foreign exchange reserves exceed $500 billion

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) reported Thursday that the country’s international reserves amounted to $502.7 billion last week, thus exceeding the target level set by the regulator.

The figure is up by $7.5 billion from the level seen a week earlier. According to the CBR, reserves increased by 1.5 percent “mainly due to a positive revaluation and the purchases of foreign currency within the framework of the budget rule.”

While Russia’s international reserves are measured in terms of US dollars, they are actually 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 and the government.

Accumulation of holdings is part of the national policy, according to the central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina. She said last month that reaching the target volume of half-a-trillion dollars in gold bullion and foreign currency holdings would be enough to tackle crisis-like episodes.

Russia has been significantly boosting its international reserves lately. As part of the broader strategy, the central bank opted to gradually diversify international holdings via decreasing its share of US dollars and stockpiling gold bullion to lessen the economy’s reliance on the greenback.

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