Russian gold and foreign currency holdings have risen by over $9 billion in one week and could top the previous record of over $598 billion in August, analysts polled by RIA Novosti predict.

The international funds came closer to the previous peak at the end of last month, as they climbed to the highest point in 12 years to $591.8 billion, according to the latest figures from the Russian Central Bank. The data released on Friday shows that the holdings rose by $9.1 billion, or about 1.6 percent, in just one week (July 24-31). The regulator said that the increase was driven by “positive revaluation” and gold’s rally.

Russian forex reserves were at all-time highs in August 2008, when they reached $598.1 billion. However, the stockpile started to shrink rapidly amid the global economic crisis and dropped by more than $100 billion in less than three months.

Analysts say that the nation’s forex holdings may reach the $600 billion milestone by the end of August. According to Sergey Grishunin of Russia’s National Rating Agency (NRA), the holdings could grow by up to two percent due to the rising euro exchange rate against the dollar. The agency expects foreign currency reserves to reach around $448-450 billion, while the bullion stockpile could have already hit $152 billion due to the recent surge in bullion prices.

While most analysts polled by RIA Novosti agree that the gold and foreign currency holdings will surge to a new high, some expect slower growth. According to Moscow-based ACRA rating agency, the international funds may rise to the new level by the end of the year or in early 2021. Meanwhile, National Credit Ratings (NCR) agency, a subsidiary of Russian business media holding RBC, says that the national forex reserves will exceed the $598 billion peak in the second part of the year, but will not remain at the record level for long due to gold’s volatility.

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