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Russia’s second-largest lender, VTB, hit by Western sanctions against Moscow actions in Ukraine, sold a tonne of gold to customers this month and expects demand to rise, the state-controlled bank said on Wednesday.
Russia scrapped a 20% VAT on gold buying for individuals on March 1 as people rushed to park savings when the rouble sank to record lows. The currency has been hit by sweeping Western sanctions on Russia in response to what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
State-run VTB said it received more than 200 orders since it began selling gold bars at the beginning of March. It said customers bought 1kg bars.
With the “increased uncertainty”, gold enables allows investors to diversify their portfolios, secure their savings and protect them for future generations, VTB senior vice-president Dmitriy Breytenbikher said in a statement.
Purchases of precious metals by Russian households should also reduce the amount of cash flooding the economy, analysts have said.
Gold prices hovered near $1,933.70 an ounce on Wednesday, not far from 2020s record all-time peak of $2,072.50 and up from around $1,800 at the start of the year.
On Monday, Russia’s central bank resumed buying gold from banks at a fixed price of 5,000 roubles ($59.35) per gram after temporarily suspending purchases from banks in mid-March to meet increased demand for the metal from households.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.