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April 20, 2022

Article by Michael Tighe, and Eddie Spence in Bloomberg News

Russians Buy Up Gold

Russians are buying more gold to protect their savings after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a collapse in the ruble and new restrictions made it more difficult to purchase foreign currency or take money out of the country.

Increasing household demand for physical gold prompted Bank of Russia to halt its purchases from banks to ensure there’s enough supply for local buyers, it said Tuesday. The scrapping of a 20% value-added tax on purchases of metals also spurred transactions, the central bank said.

The nation’s biggest lender, Sberbank, said last week that demand for gold and palladium had quadrupled, and it planned to increase the number of offices selling the precious metal to “help people protect their savings.”

“There have been bank runs in Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions, with the population withdrawing their deposits,” Ksenia Mishankina, a research analyst with Loomis, Sayles & Co., said in an email. “They see gold as a safe asset where they can park their savings.”

Gold has a long history as a haven against hard economic times, particularly when there are worries about the safety of local cash. The metal’s near-universal acceptance as an asset makes it equivalent to foreign exchange at times when governments limit access to other currencies.

The central bank lost access to almost half of …….

To read this article in Bloomberg News in its entirety, click here.

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