Die Presse (Austria): gold brought Russia more money than gas

Usually Russia earns primarily due to its gas group. However, in the second quarter of this year, all fell on his head. Blame the market and the Central Bank of Russia.

On the day when the world’s largest gas concern “Gazprom” announced the profit figures for the first quarter of 2020, the Central Bank and Customs service of Russia has published figures, which became a sensation.

For the first time in its history, Russia has made more money on gold exports than gas. These are the data for just the past second quarter of this year. Russia in April and may exported 65,4 tons of gold to gain for this to 3.55 billion dollars. Revenue from gas exports over the same period amounted to $ 2.4 billion.

Complete statistics are not yet known, but the calculations of the Central Bank of Russia said that export of gas for the quarter, brought to the Treasury of only $ 3.5 billion, that is less than the export of the yellow metal in just two months. Data for exports relate to gas transported by pipelines of fuel, the monopoly of which belongs to Gazprom. In parallel, the country and sells liquefied petroleum gas (doing this competitors of Gazprom), but in much smaller amounts.

Russian statistics reflects upheavals in the global hydrocarbon markets caused by the outbreak of coronavirus, as well as the value of gold as a “safe haven” for investors.

Gazprom suffers losses

Gazprom, of course, in the first quarter faced a sharp drop in profits, as evidenced by the performance of the state-controlled concern. But for the first time in 2015 we have to talk about the real losses, which amounted 116,2 billion rubles (1.4 billion euros), whereas in the same period last year saw a net profit of $ 536 billion.

Group turnover declined by 24.1% to 1.74 trillion rubles, and the exports to Europe (in the main for Gazprom market) fell in volume by as much as 45%. Of course, the role played by the depreciation of the ruble, but it is only part of the problem. The other part is the reduction of gas export to Europe and China by 17% due to market and weather conditions. The price fell to an average of 36%. In the second quarter of this negative trend only intensified.

As for Russia as a whole, it suffers losses due to the reduction in exports not only of gas (according to the Customs service, 53% in the first five months of this year), but the oil (one-third from January to may). The main problem of the export of “black gold” was not so much a decline in how much the unprecedented decline of prices by one — third over the period from late February to late April.

Why gold exports booming

Such a fall of profits from the sale of oil and gas is not able to compensate the export of gold, is experiencing a real boom. According to Russian experts, it can fill no more than 10% loss. By the way, the boom in gold exports was possible thanks to the Central Bank of Russia, which from 1 April unexpectedly refused to buy yellow metal so that banks, which he usually buys gold, was able to export it without any restrictions.

And this, in turn, became possible due to the fact that the Central Bank has provided to gold mining companies more room for manoeuvre in the field of exports. The main buyer of Russian gold (80%) is the UK, where are the main trading platforms and depositories of precious metal.