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Russian gold exports top natural gas for 1st time ever

Russian gold exports top natural gas for 1st time ever

Moscow, July 15 - Neftegaz.RU. The value of Russian gold exports has exceeded the country’s proceeds from natural gas exports for the 1st time in Russia’s modern history, due to low demand and prices for natural gas and surging gold exports, estimates from Russia’s central bank and customs showed, Oilprice analysed.

Russia’s exports of gold reached $3.58 billion in April and May, according to customs data reported by business outlet RBC. To compare, in those 2 months, Gazprom, which has the monopoly in natural gas exports via pipeline, sold $2.4 billion worth of natural gas outside Russia.

According to preliminary estimates of Russia’s central bank, Russia’s pipeline natural gas exports stood at $3.5 billion for the entire 2nd quarter, less than the value of gold exports in just 2 of the 3 months in the same quarter.   

For the 1st time in modern Russian history, the value of gold exports has exceeded the value of natural gas exports – natural gas exports had brought more revenues to Russia than gold since at least 1994, Maxim Khudalov, Head of the Sustainable Development Risk Assessment Group at ACRA, told RBC. Exports of gold surged in part due to the central bank’s decision not to buy gold, according to Khudalov.

In natural gas exports, Gazprom’s gas exports of $3.5 billion in Q2 2020 were half the exports for the 1st quarter, and were 2.6 times lower than for the 2nd quarter of 2019. The volumes of gas exports also significantly dropped – by 21 % in April and May 2020 compared to the same period of 2019.

Due to the low demand because of the pandemic, the high storage levels around Europe, and the warmer weather, the export price of Russian gas in May nearly halved compared to the price in May 2019.  

Gazprom’s gas exports are set to drop this year to the levels last seen in 2015, Dmitry Marinchenko, Senior Director and lead analyst on EMEA Oil & Gas at Fitch Ratings, told RBC.

According to recent estimates from Reuters and Refinitiv, Gazprom’s share of the European market has dropped from 38 % a year ago to 34 % now, due to the record stockpile of natural gas in northwest Europe and Italy.  

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