Switzerland's Russian gold imports climb in 2022
(Kitco News) The latest Swiss customs data revealed that the country imported 28.5 tonnes of Russian gold in 2022, which amounts to $1.7 billion.
Last year's purchases of Russian gold marked a 1.6-fold increase from last year.
Breaking down the data, Swiss imports of Russian gold were completely halted between March and April of last year. In May, they resumed.
China also reported buying gold from Russia last year. Chinese customs data showed a total of 6.7 tonnes bought in 2022, which was an increase of 67% from 2021, Russian media reported.
The Russian Federal Customs Service has not published its gold export data for almost a year.
In September of last year, the Swiss customs office commented on its imports of Russian gold, stating that the yellow metal came from Britain and did not violate sanctions. The metal was registered as Russian because the Swiss customs data indicate only the last location the metal was refined at, not where it was last transported from.
Various reports point out that investors have likely been using the opportunity to remelt their old Russian gold at one of Switzerland's refineries, which could make it easier for them to sell their bullion without any stigma attached to it.
The U.S., EU, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland have sanctioned imports of all new Russian gold. But gold bars exported by Russia before August 4 do not fall under these sanctions, the Swiss authorities clarified last year.
Russia is the second top gold miner in the world. Before sanctions, it was one of Britain's leading suppliers of new bullion. Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 80% of Russian-mined gold was exported through Britain. In March 2022, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) suspended the membership of Russian refineries.