The EU has banned gold of Russian origin in a move to further restrict Russia’s ability to finance its war on Ukraine. The sanctions also reflect concerns that Russian oligarchs are using the asset to evade international sanctions.
The restriction came into effect on 22 July. Gold represents Russia’s most significant export after energy and was worth more than USD$18.9 billion in 2020.
Switzerland is a major global hub for gold with its five major refineries processing 70 percent of the raw gold mined each year. The success of the sanctions will depend on Switzerland’s adherence to the sanctions.
Russia, China and Australia are frequently neck-and-neck in the production of gold with all three countries generally producing between 300-370MT annually.
Russia has the second largest gold reserve at an estimated 6,800MT after Australia’s 11,000MT.