Russia’s gold reserves rose to 42.4 million troy ounces as of September 1 compared with 41.4 million troy ounces a month earlier, the Russian central bank announced on Friday.
The monthly accumulation of 1 million ounces in just one month was one of the more sizeable monthly purchases by China and equates to 31.1 metric tonnes in August alone.
The value of the bank’s holdings rose to $47.68 billion from $44.96 billion a month earlier, Russia said in a statement on its website.
The amount bought was more than the 30.5 metric tons that Russia purchased in March, then the highest amount in six months.
Russia is now the seventh biggest holder of gold reserves after the U.S, Germany, the IMF, Italy and France and the rising gold power China. Russia has more than tripled its reserves since 2005 and holds the most gold bars since at least 1993, International Monetary Fund data shows.
Nations globally have been increasing their gold holdings in recent years, a reversal from two decades of selling. China, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus are among other nations that have been accumulating gold.
Gold remains a large part of many central banks’ reserves, decades after they stopped using it to back paper and the electronic currency of today.
Russia has been steadily buying bullion since 2007 and the advent of the global financial crisis. Russia was accumulating gold even prior to tensions with the West and international sanctions over the Ukrainian conflict.
Gold has protected the Russian reserves and acted as a hedge as gold priced in rubles has surged over 60% in the last 12 months. The plunge in oil prices contributed to sharp falls in the ruble.
Russia added about 13 tons in July and 24 tons the month before that. As tensions escalate with the U.S., the UK and the EU, Russia appears to be intensifying efforts to diversify out of their large dollar holdings and into physical gold.