Over the past three years, Russia's economy has been hit hard due to economic sanctions from the West, and falling oil prices in the global markets. And while Russia was forced to sell off millions of dollar reserves early on to stabilize their currency following the imposition of these sanctions, it has been their ongoing accumulation of gold that has not only aided in the recovery of the Ruble, but also in limiting the duration of a recession brought on by these two-fold factors.
Here’s why Governor Elvira Nabiullina is in no haste to resume foreign-currency purchases after an eight-month pause: gold’s biggest quarterly surge since 1986 has all but erased losses the Bank of Russia suffered by mounting a rescue of the ruble more than a year ago.
While the ruble’s 9 percent rally this year has raised the prospects that the central bank will start buying currency again, policy makers have instead used 13 months of gold purchases to take reserves over $380 billion for the first time since January 2015. The central bank will wait for the ruble to gain more than 12 percent to 60 against the dollar before it steps back into the foreign-exchange market, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Central banks including Russia added to their gold reserves with “renewed vigor” in the second half of 2015, accelerating their purchases as diversification of foreign reserves remained a top priority, according to the World Gold Council. Nabiullina then piggybacked on a 16 percent jump in bullion prices in the first three months of the year to move closer to the Bank of Russia’s target of $500 billion for its stockpile. It burned through a fifth of its reserves to prop up the ruble in 2014. - Bloomberg