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Russia to Ditch US Dollar?

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund will ditch its holdings in dollars from its $185 Billion Reserve Fund, dramatically increase its holdings of Chinese yuan and invest in gold for the first ever time, Russia’s Finance Ministry said Thursday.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) that Russia’s $186-billion national welfare fund (NWF) would completely divest its $41 billion worth of holdings in dollars within a month.

“Today we have about 35% of NWF investments in dollars,” Siluanov said. “We’ve decided to get out of dollar assets completely, replacing investments in dollars with an increase in euros and gold.”

The share of euros in the fund will be increased to 40%, the Chinese yuan will account for 30% and another 20% will be stored in gold.

The move will affect the liquid part of the NWF, which currently stands at around $120 billion. Despite the vast sums involved, the shift is unlikely to affect markets, since the NWF represents just a slice of Russia’s overall $600 billion worth of international reserves. The transaction will not involve the actual sale of dollars, as it will be carried out through internal transfers and an accounting shift within the Central Bank, Bloomberg reported.