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According to Bloomberg, the UAE has been buying Russian gold at an unprecedented rate since Western countries restricted imports, citing the UN’s Comtrade database.
According to statistics, the Gulf state imported 96.4 tonnes of gold from Russia in 2022, making it the country’s largest importer. The volume accounted for around one-third of Russia’s total annual gold production. It was also a more than fifteenfold increase in the Arab nation’s gold purchases from Russia year on year.
Prior to the start of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, the UK was the top destination for Russian gold, according to Bloomberg. The London market, however, has been blocked to Russian bullion since the G7, EU, and Switzerland prohibited imports of the precious metal last summer as part of a trade agreement.
Despite traditionally close ties with Western countries, the UAE chose not to join their sanctions campaign against Russia. Instead, Abu Dhabi is actively expanding its economic collaboration with Moscow, with trade turnover reaching all-time highs last year.
Along with the UAE, China and Turkey have increased their purchases of Russian gold in the last 18 months. According to customs data, the three countries accounted for 99.8% of Russian bullion exports between February 24, 2022 and March 3, 2023.
According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the UAE is on track to become one of Russia’s top-20 economic partners due to strong expansion in trade and cooperation.