According to Chinese customs data released Saturday, China increased its imports of Russian gold in 2022.
In 2022, China purchased a total of 6.6 tons of gold from Russia, both unprocessed (3.7 tons) and semi-processed (2.9 tons), at a cost of $386.9 million.
China purchased 220.2 kilograms of bullion at a cost of $14.85 million in December alone.
Over the year, shipments of gold from Russia to China were up by 67.3% in physical terms, and 63.3% in monetary terms compared to 2021 numbers.
Analysts note however that thus far, Russia’s contributions to Chinese gold bullion purchases remain comparatively small. China’s main supplier of the precious metal is Switzerland, which supplied over $34 billion dollars of gold bullion in 2021. The four next largest suppliers are Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Hong Kong.
As Western sanctions went into effect, Russian gold exports began to fall in mid-2022. All purchases of, imports, or transfers of gold, directly or indirectly, originating in Russia were banned by the EU, UK, US, Japan, and Canada.
Before the sanctions went into effect, the largest buyer of Russian gold was the UK, which had purchased 266.1 tons of bullion (88% of Russia’s exports), at a cost of $15.4 billion, in 2021.