"MOSCOW, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Russia’s state repository will sell 30 tonnes of gold worth $1 billion to the central bank next week, a source at the body said on Friday, keeping the metal inside Russia after rethinking a plan to sell it on the market. Central banks worldwide are building up their gold reserves as the metal trades near record highs. Gokhran, the Russian repository, cancelled plans to sell the gold on the open market after information about the sale leaked.
"The primary aim is to make sure this gold doesn’t hit the market and influence prices," said Olga Okuneva, metals and mining analyst at Deutsche Bank in Moscow. "It’s also a way for the Russian central bank to diversify more into gold."
Russia had planned to sell between 20 and 50 tonnes on the open market to help plug a budget deficit incurred during its first recession in a decade. The economy has since shown some signs of early recovery, in line with a rebound in oil prices.
With gold trading at record highs of $1,226.10 per ounce last week, boosted by a weaker dollar, analysts said Russia would be reluctant to sell the metal abroad or to push prices down by releasing a large quantity to the market."