LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Russia may now be World No. 2 Gold Miner
Chinese gold production is dropping – the latest figure from the China Gold Association suggests a fall to 426.14 tonnes in 2017 (down just over 6%) – while gold output in Russia grew sharply n 2017, also by just over 6%, to 306.9 tonnes according to that nation’s finance ministry. Russia has been vying with Australia as the world’s No. 2 gold miner with the latter holding a small advantage, at least up until last year. However the latest Russian figure probably puts it ahead, with further production growth planned. It may yet take some time for Russia to overtake China as the world’s top gold miner, but that does appear to be the Russian national aim as China’s gold production falls and Russia’s continues upwards.
Russia has probably also leapfrogged ahead of China in terms or gold reserves as reported to the IMF. January figures are not due out for another week but assuming Russia has added even a little gold to its reserves in January, and with China again reporting a zero increase to the IMF, Russia will almost certainly end the month in 5th place among national gold reserve holders as reported to the IMF., relegating China to 6th.
There is little doubt that Russia, under President Putin’s guidance, is a believer in gold as having an important role to play in any future global financial re-alignment, and increasing national gold production is an important part of this policy. It also helps in reducing the place of the U.S. dollar, and its derivatives in its foreign exchange reserves. Russia looks to the U.S. debt situation an d is not impressed! The Russian economy remains relatively strong despite the impact of U.S.-led sanctions due to perceived involvement in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea – now an integral part of Mother Russia and with a newly constructed 12-mile long dual road and rail bridge connection across the Kerch Strait to mainland Russia, due to open to road traffic at the end of the year. The majority of the Crimean population is ethnic Russian, although the international community still sees Crimea as part of Ukraine and the Russians as annexing the peninsula illegally.