Indications have appeared that Russia has been expediting its purchases of gold in a campaign which is meant to phase in a gold-backed standard of trade with little reliance - or no reliance in the eventual phase - on the US dollar.
The website of Russia Today, the Russian television news channel, quoted a statement by the World Gold Council as showing that the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) had more than doubled the pace of gold purchases over the past decade.
The CBR, the Council said, was believed to have already added more than 1,250 tons to its gold reserves.
In the second quarter alone, it accounted for 38 percent of all gold purchased by central banks. The gold rush has allowed the CBR to continue piling its reserves while abstaining from purchases of foreign currency (particularly, the US dollar) for more than two years, RT.com added in its report.
"The sixth largest gold reserves in the world, they constitute 17 percent of the nationís wealth," said the Council. It added that if buying continues at a similar pace, the full year increase in 2017 "could closely match" the 200 tons purchased annually in 2015 and 2016.
According to the World Gold Council, Russia is not only the largest official buyer of gold but also the worldís third-biggest producer, with the central bank purchasing from domestic miners through commercial banks.
China is also believed to have started an aggressive campaign to purchase the bullion and reduce its reliance on the dollar.
Both countries have already created mechanisms to for their traders to conduct transactions using gold as a means of marginalizing the power of the dollar in bilateral trade.