Last year Russia started drastically reducing the volumes of its investments in US securities amid Washington continuing to impose unilateral sanctions against Moscow under various pretexts. Part of the released funds has been redirected at increasing the country’s gold reserves.
Russia reduced its holdings in US Treasury securities from $14.507 billion in February by 5.8% down to $13.716 billion in March, according to the Treasury’s latest report. At the same time, Russia’s Central Bank continued shifting its investments from short-term securities, reducing their share from 52% down to 40%.
The move marks a continuing trend by Russia of reducing its investments in US securities since the second quarter of 2018. Over a year, from March 2018 to March 2019, the reduction was over 600%. The first significant drop took place in April 2019, when Russian investments dropped from $96 to $48.724 billion and continued doing so until they reached around $15 billion.
The drop in US Treasury securities took place amid Washington adopting new rounds of unilateral sanctions against the Russian economy as well as individuals. Moscow has slammed these as illegal and contested them in the World Trade Organisation.
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At the same time as it was ditching dollar investments, Russia has been building up its gold reserves. Moscow bought 31.1 tonnes of the precious metal in February on the eve of dropping $47 billion worth of US Treasury securities. The Russian Central Bank continued this policy throughout 2018 and became the number one buyer of gold in the first quarter of 2019. Notably China, the world’s number one investor in US state securities, with over $1.1 trillion, is also increasing its gold reserves in rates second only to Russia.