Despite Covid-19 crisis & falling oil prices, Russia’s gold & foreign exchange reserves reach all-time high

The value of Russia’s gold and foreign currency holdings has risen by almost $9 billion in a week. This means it’s sitting on $600 billion in forex reserves – an all-time record beating August 2008’s previous high of $598 billion.

That was just before the global financial crisis, or ‘Great Recession’, which wreaked havoc worldwide towards the end of the 2000s. Back then, the slush fund started to dwindle rapidly, due to the economic crisis, and lost over $100 billion in value in the following three months.

Lightning’s unlikely to strike twice, however, as Russia’s transformed its holdings in the intervening years. Moscow has aggressively de-dollarized and concentrated on building up gold, euro and yuan reserves instead.

In the first week of August, the value of its cash pile increased by $8.9 billion, or 1.5 percent, to $600.1 billion. The current growth is due to positive exchange rate changes and an increase in world gold prices, the Central Bank in Moscow said on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov explained that Russia’s finances “demonstrate a high level of stability in the economy.” He added that international rating agencies have set the credit rating of Russia at investment level.

Fitch has affirmed Russia’s long-term credit score at BBB. The forecast remains stable. Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings has approved Russia’s long-term foreign currency rating at BBB- with a stable outlook. The long-term local currency rating remains at BBB.

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