Russians bought an all-time record number of gold bars in 2022, finance ministry data showed on Friday, as tax cuts on precious metals encouraged people to stock up on bullion as a safe asset.
Moscow scrapped its 20% VAT on physical gold trades for individuals last March in a bid to draw people away from using the US dollar as a safe haven.
It also exempted people from paying income tax on profits gained from selling gold bars, further boosting demand for the metal.
According to the data, Russians bought over 50 t of gold bars in 2022, ten times more than the year before. The most sought after were 1 kg bars which accounted for about 60% of those sold.
The figures are not yet final and only cover the period ending November 2022, the finance ministry told Reuters.
State-controlled VTB Bank said it sold 33.8 t of gold bars to customers in 2022, with clients holding 50-billion roubles ($711 million) worth of the metal.
“Gold was a good protective financial solution last year,” said Yevgeny Beresnev from VTB’s investment products department.
“Customers shifted funds into this instrument in order to diversify their assets and make a profit when long-term planning.”