Billions of dollars worth of Russian gold stored in high-security bank vaults in London, Zurich and New York have quietly changed hands in recent months in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Data from 11 Western mutual funds show that a total of $2.2 billion worth of Russian bullion was removed from their accounts between July and November at current prices.
Funds that store gold have shrunk in recent months as rising interest rates have triggered investment withdrawals from bullion. However, according to data compiled by Reuters, Russia saw a larger outflow of gold funds compared to other countries.
Big blow to Russia
While this is a small fraction of the total amount of Russian gold held by asset managers, this reflects a shift, with some funds stating that they no longer want to hold any assets linked to Russia.
Two sources from exchange-traded funds that hold hundreds of tons of gold said they are looking to divest Russian-origin metals. A source stated that his fund asked the bank to allocate as little Russian metal as possible to store its gold.
mutual funds (ETFs) are among the largest holders of gold bars, and many publicly list the bullion they hold. This means that investors will be able to see if they have Russian gold on hand, as each bullion has its origin written on it.