May 14, 2020 / 10:08 AM / 21 days ago

Russia increased share of U.S. dollar, gold in reserves last year - c.bank data

MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank slightly increased the share of the U.S. dollar and gold in its international reserves last year, data from its annual report published on Thursday showed.

That marked a shift from 2018 when the bank sharply cut the share of U.S. dollars, saying it wanted to diversify its reserves to avoid political risks - seen as partly a reference to U.S. sanctions.

The central bank said in its report it had been increasingly buying gold from domestic banks and it had made forex purchases on the market in line the country’s fiscal rules. It did not give other reasons for the changes.

As of January 1, 2020, U.S. dollars accounted for 24.5% of the bank’s international reserves, up from 22.7% in January 2019, the central bank report showed.

Gold accounted for 19.5% of reserves as of the beginning of the year, up from 18.1% in early 2019.

The central bank suspended gold purchases for its reserves on April 1, without providing an explanation for its move. (Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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