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Photo: Flickr / hto2008

Russia sold gold in February, according to latest data by the IMF via the Financial Times. This would be the country’s first gold sale in five years.Russia sold 3.8 tonnes of gold, worth about $200 million, an unusual move since the country’s central bank has been a net gold buyer.

In the last five year Russia’s central bank bought an average of 96 tonnes of gold a year. 9.8 per cent of Russia’s foreign reserves are held in gold.

Russia’s central bank typically buys gold from the domestic market and Russian bullion banks. It purchased 15 tonnes of gold in the third quarter of last year. Early last year the Central Bank of Russia said it planned to purchase over 100 tonnes of gold to rebuild its gold and Forex reserves.

UBS precious metals strategist Edel Tully told the FT that he doesn’t think this move signals the end of central bank buying rather that they had become “more opportunistic in their approach to the market.”

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