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Russians embrace precious metals: Sberbank sold 89 tonnes of silver and 7 tonnes of gold in 2022

Kitco News

(Kitco News) Russia's largest lender Sberbank sold 100 tonnes of precious metals, and 89 tonnes of that was silver.

Sberbank customers have opened 300,000 new unallocated metal accounts between January and September, Interfax reported, citing the bank's statement this week.

And the total amount of precious metals sold was around 100 tonnes. According to the bank, nearly seven tonnes of that was gold, 89 tons was silver, and a tonne each of platinum and palladium.

On gold, Russians spent around $550 million at Sberbank.

Unallocated precious metal accounts mean the bank remains the owner of the precious metal bought, and the clients' accounts only get credited. Sberbank has developed the option of unallocated precious metals accounts to expedite the process of opening the account and selling precious metals.

Back in March, Russians went on a gold-buying spree as the ruble collapsed following the country's invasion of Ukraine. 

Major local banks have reported a surge in demand for gold as Russians rushed to invest in the bullion and coins to protect their savings. The country's central bank even had to temporarily halt the country's own gold purchases from local banks to leave the inventory for regular consumers.

During the same month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law scrapping the 20% value-added tax on metals purchases. The move was designed to encourage the buying of precious metals over foreign currencies such as the U.S. dollar and euro at a time when the Russian ruble was plummeting.

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