"You have your bricks fell out..." Why is gold exported from Russia
The coronavirus infection pandemic caused a sharp collapse on exchange houses in the United States. Investors are afraid of a further fall in stock markets and massively buy gold to save capital. World prices for precious metals have updated the maximum since November 2012 and reached $ 1,741 per triple ounce.
Against the backdrop of statements by the US Federal Reserve on an unlimited issue of money, investments in gold are becoming more attractive than the dollar, and analysts predict a further increase in quotations. The world market began to record a shortage of precious metal in free sale.
Rising gold prices is one of the factors that hinder the fall of the national currency in the crisis. In Russia, with the onset of the epidemic, sales, by contrast, increased. According to statistics from the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, in January and February 2020, 17 tons of precious metal worth $ 854 million were exported and sold from the country, which is 7 times higher than in the same period last year.
- Gold sales increased in January-February, I explain this by fluctuations in exchange rates. These months the situation on the world market was unprofitable, why not fix it on this and sell gold, if there is one, in order to get a profit? I do not think that these massive sales of gold were then associated with coronavirus, while in Russia the situation was not yet taken seriously. And it would be necessary, says the economist Igor Nikolaev . - In times of crisis, the value of an asset like gold always rises. When everything falls and collapses - from stock markets, stocks, oil prices to commodities and all national currencies, gold remains gold; I think that in March and April they will not want to part with it at all.
At the beginning of the year, Russian state banks actively sold gold. The largest holder of precious metals, VTB Bank in two months sold a fifth of its reserves - 9 tons of gold. Gazprombank 's gold and foreign currency assets fell by 2.2 tons in February. Since April 1, the Central Bank halted the purchase of gold and strengthened exports to ensure the flow of currency. Financial institutions with record gold reserves were approaching the beginning of the year: 92 tons of gold compared to 38 tons in 2019.
2020 exports mainly went to London. In two months, 15.4 tons of gold worth $ 775 million were exported to the UK.
“They justify the fact that Russia urgently needs a currency. With horror we are waiting for statistics for April and May. This was the case in the First World War (also transported to London, the last transport with tsarist gold left in January 1917; the Provisional Government continued to export it.) Then, in the late USSR, almost the entire gold reserve of the country was exported to the West (also mainly to London and Switzerland) ” - writes "Nezygar" with reference to the tg-channel "Interpreter".
In March, reports of bank sales of metal were followed by individual incidents with individuals. Moreover, gold, as it became known, was safely transported to Heathrow not even by special boards, but by ordinary air flights.
On March 25, the Russian president first addressed the coronavirus pandemic, during which he announced a 15% tax on dividends that are taxed abroad. And the very next day, a picture from Sheremetyevo appeared in the media: a split plastic case with gold bullion falling out of it. As it soon became clear, a pair of “briquettes” of 25.5 kg, worth almost 58 million rubles, was only a small part of the valuable cargo. The container was to take place No. 20 in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. In total, according to the tax return, forty such places were bought under bullion. The total weight of the parcel was 1,023.75 kg, the cost of all exported gold, according to rough estimates, was to be at least 2,319 billion rubles. The cargo was sealed and sent by flight SU2580 from Moscow to London by OJSC Krasnoyarsk Non-Ferrous Metals Plant named after V.N. Gulidova ".
The general public would hardly have known about the export of a large consignment of gold from the country if the said case with the dropped bullion had not accidentally been lost in Sheremetyevo during loading. The press service of the plant said that the gold did not belong to them, but a certain “raw material holder - subsoil user” owns the cargo. They did not disclose the name of the client who ordered the ingots from the plant, citing trade secrets.
- I think that Venezuelan gold is being sold, the remains from last year. Just in volume, with a small deduction, it coincides. Venezuela not only traded, but, as I understand it, it should have been to Russia, they said that Maduro’s life depended on the Kremlin. All transactions and cashing out, of course, occur under the strict supervision of the United States, America will then use these episodes in order not to lift the sanctions against Russia. It’s in no way connected with coronavirus, unless certain groups of people abroad are a little worried, says financial analyst Stepan Demura.
In February 2019, the media learned about Venezuela’s refusal to send 20 tons of gold abroad. Bloomberg estimated the value of 1,600 gold bars seized from the Central Bank of Venezuela, weighed and prepared for shipment abroad, at $ 850 million. The planned delivery was canceled due to a scandal both in the republic and abroad. The news agency emphasized that the seized gold is an element of a fierce struggle for control of the republic’s finances between incumbent President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself the acting head of state. The National Assembly (the unicameral parliament of Venezuela) suspected the Venezuelan authorities in an attempt to smuggle gold through transit zones to Russia. The US then called on the Russian Federation not to make deals with Maduro for gold and oil, and US Presidential Assistant for National Security John Bolton publicly wondered: “Will [Maduro] steal resources to pay for Russian intervention in the [Venezuelan crisis]?” RBC wrote . The Kremlin then stated that they did not have data on the intention to export gold from the Central Bank of Venezuela to Russia. Chairman of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina called the information that Russia contains a gold reserve of Venezuela, unreliable.
- In financial, economic and political languages, the export of gold or diamond reserves of a country to another is called “money laundering”, since it is usually carried out according to a shadow scheme with the participation of intermediary organizations. London is a conglomerate of many privileges, not only for the financial sector, but also for the political. As you know, many people who have profited from the state budget continuously find their refuge in London and Israel. First, London rarely gives out to corrupt officials who brought huge amounts of money there. As an old English proverb says: nothing personal, just business! It is in London that the most important political decisions are taken that guide the pan-European course of implementing certain decisions, including the vector of the banking sector, because the economy is closely connected with politics, ”says political scientist, sociologist Mikhail Galitsky.
Any unstable situation instills uncertainty, and entrepreneurship, the oligarchy, as a rule, always plan their actions ahead, he notes. The epidemic has caused significant economic damage to the whole world, even to the most developed countries. Many government spending on the fight against the virus will need to fill in the gaps, and it is likely that this will affect the increase in taxes for owners of strategic mining companies and other major production facilities. Against the background of all this, it is logical to assume that, while exporting capital abroad, some very specific people are trying to maintain their fortune and, perhaps, take advantage of the situation and invest in the economy of England, which also spends a lot on the fight against the epidemic. And subsequently receive increased trusteeship and protection, says Galitsky.