Russia's central bank bought 15.6 tonnes of gold in October
The purchase pushed up the country's gold holdings by 2.6%; bank says it aims to increase gold's share in its reserves this year
MOSCOW (Reuters) -
Russia's central bank gold stocks rose by 0.5 million ounces (15.6 tonnes) or by 2.6 percent in October to 19.5 billion ounces (606.5 tonnes), data on the bank's web site www.cbr.ru showed.
Russia's central bank has said it aims to increase gold's share in its reserves this year to keep its investments diverse. The metal is also seen as a safe-haven at times of financial market turbulence and economic crisis -- a status which has helped send the price of gold XAU= to record highs this year.
The web site said the total value of gold in the bank's stocks rose to $20.4 billion at Nov. 1 from $18.8 billion a month earlier. Gold made up 4.7% of Russia's total gold and foreign exchange reserves -- the world's third largest -- which stood at $434.43 billion at the start of November.
A source in the Russian state precious and metals repository Gokhran said the gold did not come from its stocks.
The central bank was not immediately available for comment.
Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last week Gokhran, subordinated to the ministry, will sell 30 tonnes of gold to the central bank this year.
The central bank had been steadily building its gold stocks this year from 16.7 million ounces on Jan. 1, 2009.
The largest monthly increase this year -- of 0.6 million ounces -- took place in July, when stocks rose to 18.3 million ounces from 17.6 million.
In September Russia's gold stocks were the world's ninth-largest.
The central bank's reserves include gold, foreign currency and Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), an international reserve asset that is essentially a currency of the International Monetary Fund, and some other assets. (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys and Polina Devitt; Editing by Keiron Henderson)
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