Russians bought a record amount of gold bullion in 2022, according to Russian Finance Ministry data released today, as tax breaks for owners of the precious metal encourage the world to store gold as a safe-haven asset.
Moscow scrapped a 20% VAT on retail gold transactions last March in a bid to move the world away from using US dollars as a safe haven.
It also exempted citizens from paying income tax on profits earned from the sale of gold bars, further boosting demand for the precious metal.
According to the data, Russians bought more than 50 tons of gold bars in 2022, ten times more than the previous year. One kilo gold bars were the most sought after and accounted for 60% of those sold last year.
These figures are not yet final and only cover the period until the end of November 2022, the finance ministry told Reuters.
State-owned VTB Bank said it sold 33,8 tonnes of gold bullion to customers in 2022, with customers holding gold worth 50 billion rubles (about €650 million).
"Gold was a good financial hedge last year," said Yevgeny Bereznev of VTB's investment products division.
"Clients moved funds into this instrument to diversify their assets and earn profits during their long-term planning," he noted.