(Adds details on first consignment, quotes, context)
MOSCOW, April 26 (Reuters) - VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest lender, aims to supply between 80 and 100 tonnes (2.57-3.22 million troy ounces) of gold to China per year, the bank said on Tuesday after it started the shipments.
VTB said earlier on Tuesday it had dispatched its first batch of gold to China, becoming the first Russian bank to start direct supplies of physical gold to the world’s largest buyer and consumer of the precious metal.
“The volume of the first supply totalled one tonne of gold. It was sold directly to one of China’s largest financial institutions in April,” the bank said in a written reply to questions from Reuters.
VTB aims to boost deliveries of the metal in the next 12 months, plans to expand its precious metals portfolio and increase the number of partners to become one of the leading suppliers to China’s market, it added.
Most gold miners in Russia, which produced 289.5 tonnes of the metal in 2015, sell their gold to local banks. Russia is one of the world’s top five producers of the metal. (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Susan Thomas; editing by Dmitry Solovyov)