Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, says the dollar monopoly has endangered global economy. To hedge Russia against any possible currency cataclysm, Putin has made his country the world’s largest gold buyer. In the last ten years, the Russian central bank has purchased 570 metric tons on the yellow metal, about a quarter more than Chinese central bank, which is currently the second biggest gold buyer.
Putin’s United Russia party lawmaker, Evgeny Fedorov, said if a country has gold, it will have more sovereignty in case of the cataclysm with the euro, dollar, pound or any other major currency. Central banks of the major countries are printing cash to somehow escape the financial crisis, but this heavily increases inflation. And has helped the driving demand for gold.
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Putin started buying gold in 2005 when the “crude oil per ounce of gold” ratio declined to 6.5 barrels from 11.5 barrels when he came to power in 2000. At the time, gold was at $495 an ounce, now priced at $1,657.80 an ounce in Moscow. However, Russia’s appetite seems to have leveled off lately. As of January 31, Russian central bank, Bank Rossii, had $532 million in reserves. Of which $52 billion was in gold, about 10 percent of the total reserves.
Demand for gold in mainland China has also surged as rising income and concerns over the currency debasement have encouraged people to purchase more of the yellow metal that they were forbidden to own for over 50 years. The world’s second largest economy imported 834.5 metric tons of gold last year, compared to 431.2 metric tons in 2011. Monthly imports for gold rose to a record high in December 2012 to 114.4 metric tons, according to Bloomberg.
Russia and China are not the only countries aggressively piling up gold. The German central bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, announced last month that it will bring back 20 percent of its gold reserves deposited in the United States and France. The bank said gold repatriation will help build trust in the German economy and keep the euro stable.
Deutsche Bundesbank will bring back 374 metric tons of gold from the Banque de France in Paris, and another 300 metric tons of gold deposited at the New York Federal Bank. The central bank said the gold to be brought home is currently valued at $36.05 billion or €27 billion.
With the recent news surrounding gold coming from the Governments of some of the largest economies, expect talks of a new reserve currency, and many conspiracy theories to abound.