The World Gold Council released its quarterly reports this week and revealed the frightening fact that Russia purchased more than 55 tonnes of gold in Q3 of 2014, more than every other country of the world COMBINED. This frantic accumulation is attributed to be part of efforts to shore up reserves against the declining rouble and to lessen the impact of sanctions from the United States and Europe after the recent turmoil in Ukraine.
The other reason for the gold scramble, the UK Telegraph reports, is that Putin is preparing for a lengthy economic war with the West.
Just going by the numbers, it would seem that Putin is definitely preparing for something. In the past five years, Russia has more than DOUBLED its gold reserves.
Some analysts believe that Russia could be coordinating its gold purchases with other former Soviet-states and China as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a strategic alliance between Asian powers. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Tajikistan have all been increasing their Central Bank holdings of gold in recent months.
This week, fresh reports of Russian troop and tank movements into Ukraine as well as several long-range bomber exercise missions to test the response times of NATO and the United States left many wondering what Putin’s ultimate plans are.
Russia has made several trade deals with China this year, including the BRICS new development bank to circumvent the IMF and a currency agreement that stipulates that bank transactions between the two countries would no longer be conducted with dollars, but instead with the rouble and yuan.
In the past two weeks, both nations also announced landmark gas and oil deals that indicate an energy alliance as well as an economic one.
On the surface, the WGC’s latest numbers suggest a 2% decline in global demand for gold, but what is not revealed in the report is that the WGC’s estimates for Chinese demand are woefully flawed and historical trends suggest that China continues to increase its demand and obscure its totals.