Gold reserve of Russia: concept, functions, position in the structure of gold reserves of the economy, the structure of gold storage in the reserve of the country, position in the top 10 countries storing the yellow metal

Gold Stock - a notion that implies the acquisition and accumulation of assets with high liquidity. They are held by the Central Bank and the Government of the Russian Federation. Precious metal is part of the world's gold and foreign exchange reserve (GOLD) and directly owned by the state. Russia's gold reserve is constantly changing, which depends on many factors, but over the last decades the amount of the precious metal has increased several times.

Russia's gold stockpile: the way from ore to 999 bar

The metal, which is part of the gold stockpile, must undergo a refining procedure. This means removing the maximum amount of impurities. The permissible value of additives is 0.5%. As a result, a metal of 995 proof or higher is obtained. For comparison 585 metaland, moreover, 375 cannot constitute gold reserve Russia, as well as other species (from 333 up to 960). Such materials are used in industry and for the production of goods.

In nature, too, is rarely found pure precious metal, usually there are impurities in the form of minerals. It is refined to gold recoveries with a minimum amount of third-party components. So, additional manipulation is required to improve the properties of the metal, which can then make up the gold reserve.

Branding on gold and sterling silver
999 is the highest gold standard

Extraction from stone

The main method of obtaining a purer precious metal from solid rock is cyanidation. The method is based on the ability of the precious metal to dissolve under the influence of certain aggressive environments (acids of certain kinds). However, the amount of pure gold decreases as a result. And the procedure of metal extraction itself is called prey from the ore. In addition, methods based on changes in other environmental parameters (pressure) are used to separate gold from minerals, temperature), exposure to alkali. The choice of the option is made taking into account the determination of the main characteristics of the ore.

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Refining at the factory

After the main share of impurities has been removed, the precious metal still contains a substantial share of extraneous compounds. This does not allow it to be used for making ingots, coins, which could make up Russia's international reserve. There are 11 refineries on the territory of the Russian Federation, which perform the function of refining. The largest one is the Krasnoyarsk plant.

Deep refinement to 999

Affinity - is a multi-stage deep purification of precious metals. Different methods are used to remove impurities:

  1. Chemical refining. This option is used to recover gold contained in waste materials (microcircuits, radio components, etc.). The method is based on the action of nitric acid. The procedure is carried out in stages, each time evaporation is carried out followed by addition of nitric acid (already in small quantities). Gold is released after the addition of ferrous sulfate - it precipitates as a dark precipitate.
  2. Electrochemical method. Refineries use this method, with a gold purity of at least 900. The electrolysis method is used: the electrolyte is nitric acid, the cathode is fine gold, the anode is a precious metal with impurities, which is purified.
  3. Miller's method. It is based on chlorine gas. It is passed through the gold, which helps to remove impurities. Foreign substances are transformed into chlorides, which are characterized by volatility.

The concept of a country's gold and foreign exchange reserve

If the gold reserve is a reserve of gold, then the foreign exchange reserve is a complex concept, which includes several types of highly liquid assets: gold, currency, money equivalent in the IMF, etc. The volume of reserves allows the government to repay debt obligations (if such a need arises).

Gold refining
Gold purified from impurities

Components of gold reserves and gold position

In order to understand how the FER is formed, it is also necessary to know what it consists of:

  • Monetary gold - the precious metal that makes up a country's gold reserve;
  • funds in foreign currency: deposits, direct foreign money (currency), securities, OMZ;
  • artificial means of payment, which can be issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there is another name - special drawing rights;
  • reserve position in the IMF - the currency equivalent of a state's quota in the IMF.

Bullion bars and coins

Gold with a minimum amount of impurities up to 0.5% is accepted for storage. Accordingly, the assay of the precious metal can be: 995-1000. Its storage is not always organized on the territory of the state. Some amount is sometimes in another country, which may be due to external and internal reasons. For example, this is the situation in India today.

7 currencies

Funds in foreign currency are not always directly in the form of money as a physical means of payment. This group also includes securities and deposits. They also include balances on correspondent accounts, as well as unallocated metal accounts. Currency, information about which is usually provided by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation:

  • euros;
  • dollar;
  • pound;
  • yuan;
  • yen;
  • other currencies (the lowest percentage).

Reserve status in the IMF

This concept means the currency equivalent of the quota of the Russian Federation in the International Monetary Fund. It represents part of the entrance fee, which is paid by Russia (or another country) when the state officially accepts membership in the IMF. The size of the reserve status is constantly changing, as it depends on external factors, such as the redistribution of shares of foreign currency assets.

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SDR accounts

The name comes from Special Drawing Wrights (SDR), which means Special Drawing Rights. These are payment instruments that can be used as reserve assets. Such assets are international. They are in the IMF account, for which there is a special department - the IMF SDR.

Gold bars
The precious metal is gold

Table: dynamics of assets of gold reserves according to the Central Bank of Russia

Current information on gold reserves is usually not provided. If one studies how the amount of currency, the amount of payment in SDRs or the amount of gold changes, Russia's reserves are disclosed by the end of a certain time period. Accordingly, it is not possible to find out such information as of today. It is possible to access data for past periods:

Amount, billion dollars.
 2019 г.2020 г.
Monetary gold109477144588
Foreign currency409005438062
SDR account66386891
Reserve position in the IMF39634881
The total amount of the gold reserves, including all components529083594422

Dynamics of Russia's gold stock over the last 5 years

In recent years, there has been an increase in the volume of gold. This is due to the fact that the regulator purchases the metal in large volumes. The graph shows how much the gold stock of the Russian Federation has increased each year (the information is provided according to Rosstat):

Although 58% less gold was purchased in 2020 than in 2019 (see chart above), the total gold reserve converted into currency increased by 25.71%. The price at the beginning of the accounting period (January 2021) was $138.754 billion.

Functions of the gold reserve of the state

The main purpose of the gold reserve of Russia (as well as any other country) is to ensure the value of the local currency, in this case - the ruble. Considered the size of the physical means of payment, it is equal to the volume of goldwhich is contained in a special place - the vault. Other features:

  • the basis for international payments - reserve, provides a guarantee of payment, repayment of debt obligations;
  • regulating the value of precious metal within Russia;
  • insurance coverage from private depositors on the territory of the Russian Federation;
  • the ability to purchase currency (euros, dollars, etc.);
  • collateral for credit.
Dynamics of Russia's gold stock over the last 5 years
Gold 999

Factors of formation of the size of gold reserves

The main and indirect factors must be taken into account. The former include:

  • revaluation of highly liquid assets (any of the components);
  • conducting operations of the Central Bank, ensuring the management of cash, monetary gold, etc.

Indirectly, the ZVRs are affected:

  • additional operations: accrual of interest from bonds, movement of non-cash funds, etc;
  • fluctuations of the dollar, as it is in this currency is determined by the volume of gold reserves.

Russia's position in terms of the size of gold reserves

Russia has a considerable amount of precious metals, among them gold. This allows the development of new deposits and the regular extraction of more and more Au. As a result, the amount of gold reserves is constantly growing. Today (as of 2021) the physical mass of the precious metal of the highest standard is 2207 tons.

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The size of the gold reserves is not only gold in Russia, but also other means of payment, as a result, the amount in recent years has increased to 555179 billion dollars. This allowed Russia to take 4th place among the leading countries (according to the World Bank). For comparison, 1-2 years ago Russia was the 5th position among the leading countries. If you want to know to whom Russia previously lost ground, the list is quite impressive: the United States, Germany, Italy and France.

World Gold Council, functions

The World Gold Council is an organization created by representatives of the largest gold companies. The year of formation is 1987. The main criterion for joining the Council is the volume of precious metal from the world reserve of at least 60%. The organization influences all areas of the sphere: jewelry industry, production of other types of products, investments. The main tasks of the Council:

  • Maintaining the demand for gold at the proper level;
  • preservation of the world market position of the precious metal;
  • sustaining the industry;
  • Promoting the use of Au for different purposes.

However, the World Gold Council is a commercial organization. Initially, its formation was facilitated by the desire to maintain the positions on the world market, which it was able to take over the years of existence companies of gold production.

World Gold Council
World Gold Council Logo

Top 10 countries where the world's main gold is stored

After the collapse of the USSR, a significant share of the gold reserve was lost. However, Russia is gradually making up for lost time by rapidly increasing the volume of the precious metal. This has allowed Russia to catch up with the leaders, firmly entrenched at the top of the rating of countries with the largest Au reserves.

In addition, many people wonder where the gold of Russia, America, France and other countries is kept. The average man can hardly ever say that he has found this place in his own country. It is not listed on the map. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to show the way there. These are closed facilities with a high level of protection. Today, it is already known in which cities many countries prefer to store their gold reserves, but there is still no exact data, especially on the top-secret depository of China.

America - 8133.5 tons

The U.S. ranks first among other nations, as the gold reserve as of 2019 was 8133.5 tons, representing 74.5% of the world's reserve for this precious metal. The place where the authorities decided to store the gold is the Fort Knox (Kentucky) military base. But this is not where the entire reserve is held, but only half of it. The rest of the precious metal is redirected to New York, and this half Au is also divided into parts, which contributes to the security of storage.

Germany - 3,367.9 tons

The precious metal in this quantity accounts for 70% of the world's reserve, which contributes to the strengthening of the state on the world market. Germany ranks first in the amount of gold in Europe, as its Au reserve is much larger than that of neighboring countries and states that are also located on the continent.

Until 2013 the gold reserve of Germany was almost completely stored outside the country. However, under pressure from the population, the authorities decided to bring the gold back: the metal was in the U.S., Britain and France.

Today Germany has returned half of its gold reserve. The rest is still outside the country: just over 36% is stored in the U.S., a small portion in London. Despite this, the metal still belongs to Germany.

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Italy - 2,451.8 tons

The volume of the gold reserve of the country is 64.5% of the world. This is a significant amount, in terms of bullion is 95493 pcs., a small amount is stored in the form of coins. The place of keeping the precious metal is Rome (Palazzo Koch). Italy also keeps its gold reserve in other countries: the United States, Britain and Switzerland. The total share of Italian Au outside the state is 55.1%.

Gold - 24 carat
Italy's gold reserve

France - 2,436 tons

The gold volume of this country is slightly less than that of Italy, at 59.9%. A facility located at considerable depth is used to contain the precious metal. The metal is stored in a bank vault. What makes France different from its neighboring countries is its ability to store its gold within the state.

The advantage of the bank vault is its capacity. So, if the need arises, there is an opportunity to shelter everyone (the premises can accommodate up to 3 thousand people).

Russia - 2207 tons

During Soviet times, the gold reserve limit of 2,800 tons was reached. So far it has not been possible to get more or at least the same amount of precious metal. If you wonder how many tons of gold in Russia, we must take into account the increase in this amount to 2207 tons only in recent years, which is a serious achievement, which now have to reckon with the other leading countries, as they are gradually shifting Russia. A storage facility at one of Moscow's special facilities is presumably used to hold the precious metal. Characteristics of gold:

  • is stored in bullion;
  • weight each is 10-14 kg;
  • metal assay - not less than 995;
  • value of one bullion bar - 30 million rubles.

China - 1,916.3 tons

The precious metal remains in China. The country's Au total amounts to 2.5% of gold reserves. Despite the average amount of gold, China is the leader in the extraction of this precious metal. A peculiarity of this country is closed information on many areas of the domestic economy. When examining open sources, no mention was found of a facility containing a gold reserve.

Switzerland - 1,040 tons

The precious metal obtained in Switzerland, acquired by this country, is only 5.4% of the volume of foreign exchange reserves. The peculiarity of the state is the storage of the precious metal, the amount of which relative to the population is a record. The place for this is chosen without any tricks - the National Bank of Switzerland. However, no more than 70% of the precious metal is contained here. The rest of the gold is sent to other countries (England, Canada). This is a common practice among world leaders who want to keep at least one share of the gold reserve in case the main one is lost.

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The concept of carat and proof
Gold bars

Japan - 765.2 tons

 The volume of the gold reserve is small (2.4 of the gold reserve), but this does not prevent it from ensuring the stability of the state. The metal is kept on the territory of the state bank. This tradition has been unchanged since ancient times. Information about the location of the gold stockpile remains open, but this does not mean that the security level at the site is low. The country's leadership has kept the entire Au, the metal is not planned to be transferred for the purpose of storage to other states.

India - 618.2 tons

Despite the small volume of gold, its total amount from the gold reserves is 6.1%. The premises of the Reserve Bank have been set aside to contain the metal. Au once helped the country survive a serious crisis, when there was almost a default. This was averted thanks to the loan funds that were taken against the gold that was given to England. Since then, the metal has continued to remain in the territory of another country. Only now it is not in its possession, nor is it collateral. The funds for the debts have long since been paid by India. The bullion is now kept in England as the basis of the deposit.

Netherlands - 612.5 tons

The gold reserve is 64.9% of the gold reserve. The Central Bank was chosen for storage. However, not all of the metal is contained here. A substantial portion is transferred to the United States, England and Canada. The total amount of bullion in these countries is 69%.

The structure of Russia's gold stockpile

The stock of gold in Russia is located inside the country. Most of it (2/3 of the total amount of precious metal) is contained on the territory of the Central Bank (Moscow). Some more is sent to facilities located in other cities: Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg. In addition, there are many more storage facilities. According to some sources, their number throughout the country is about 500. However, it is not known whether there is a reliable list of such facilities.

The Moscow storage facility is one of the largest among other countries, with an area of 17 thousand meters.2.

There is an opinion that some amount of Russian precious metal has nevertheless left the country, stored in the United States and Switzerland. However, officials deny this information, assuring that the entire amount of gold remains inside the country.

Gold bars
Yellow gold bars

Multilevel system of protection of Russian gold

The difficulty of penetrating the facilities where Russia's gold is kept is primarily due to the fact that the storage is at some depth. In addition, there is an even more important factor explaining why it is problematic to get to the reserve precious metal. We are talking about multi-level access.

Today, it is only possible to get inside the vault if several people have been granted access at once. The equipment reads basic body parameters (biometric), and it is also possible to enter a password. In case of a single incorrect entry, the security system is triggered and further actions are no longer possible.

The location and type of cameras increases the level of protection. They provide a full view, there are no "blind" zones. Many areas of the storage facility are duplicated by different cameras from different vantage points.

Requirements for security personnel

If guards or employees have direct access to the premises where Russian gold is held directly, they have special requirements:

  • It is forbidden to enter without a permit (for example, together with a person who has a permit);
  • It is necessary to wear gloves, because the gold of the highest standard leaves traces after any contact;
  • Do not use tools to work with gold that have been brought from outside and are not designed to perform operations with the precious metal of the highest standard;
  • Do not drink or consume food in the workplace, especially if 995/1000 proof gold is nearby;
  • It is important to hold the metal firmly (but not squeeze it!), because it is forbidden to drop it;
  • Do not allow other damage (even minor scratches) to occur, as this reduces the value of the product;
  • It is forbidden to carry out any manipulation of the precious metal in the absence of management unless superiors have been notified.
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Russia's gold reserve by year

Russia's position has changed dramatically over the past dozen years. Now the level of the gold reserve has increased substantially. To avoid searching for information for each year, one should study the graph:

Graph of changes in the amount of gold in different years (tons)
Graph of changes in the amount of gold in different years (tons)

Subject: Q&A

Are precious stones included in the gold reserves?

Opinion of an expert
Anton Yegorov
Financial consultant
The most common and valuable among the stones (diamonds) are not attributed to the PRS. The complexity of regulating the issue of including such items in the list of collateral for gold reserves is caused by their peculiarities. Items may differ from each other, which affects the formation of value.

Where can I buy 999 bullion? Is it an effective investment?

Opinion of an expert
Anton Yegorov
Financial consultant
When deciding where to go to buy high-strength metal, you should consider only official organizations, such as Sberbank. This will avoid the purchase of artisanal items. In addition, you need to consider the weight (grams). It is also proposed to buy investment coins. First, a catalog is studied, then the variety is chosen. It is necessary to take into account that such investments are long-term, a profit can be obtained, after years.

Does the Central Bank keep other countries' gold? And how does it do so?

Opinion of an expert
Anton Yegorov
Financial consultant
The practice of transferring precious metal for the purpose of storage to other countries exists and is actively used. Even the leaders in gold volume (Germany, Italy, etc.) have done so. But according to the Central Bank, Russia keeps gold reserves in its own vaults. There is no confirmed information that the Central Bank of the Russian Federation accepts for the content of precious metal of the highest standard from other states.

Video: where is the gold of Russia, all about the gold reserve of the country

Commentary from a financial analyst

Stas Gribanov
Stas Gribanov
Broker, 12 years of experience at the stock exchange
Gold goes through a multistage refining process. When a prospector delivers the precious metal to a gold pan or a mine extracts a certain amount of Au, it is sent for further processing. The refining is performed at another facility. Given the complex process of obtaining gold, its price increases accordingly.

It is one of the factors affecting the economy. Such metal forms the gold reserve, making it a stable reserve for many financial transactions, which is due to the accuracy of shape, size, weight. In comparison, stones are harder to classify, even those that are faceted can be different. The price will always be different. This explains why gold has remained the most stable form of settlement for centuries.
The author of the article
Raisa Koshman
A chemical technologist by training. She is engaged in manufacturing silver and gold jewelry in her home workshop. She has the 4th category of jeweler.
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