Russia becomes UAE’s primary gold supplier after Western sanctions

Russia emerged as the primary source of gold for the United Arab Emirates last year, a shift driven by sanctions imposed by Western countries in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the United Nations’ Comtrade database, the United Arab Emirates imported 96.4 tons of gold from Russia last year, surpassing all other nations in gold imports.

This amounts to approximately one-third of Russia’s annual mine production and signifies a remarkable year-on-year surge of over 15 times in the UAE’s gold imports from Russia.

The United Arab Emirates has historically served as a crucial hub for precious metals, notably from Africa and India. However, last year marked the first time it assumed a significant role in the trade of Russian gold.

Prior to the conflict, nearly all of Russia’s bullion was routinely sent to London, the world’s leading market for gold. However, it quickly became stigmatized among the banks that previously facilitated these transactions.

Western sanctions have disrupted Russia’s customary export channels, compelling the country’s mining industry to seek alternative methods for selling their precious metal.

According to a report by Bloomberg earlier this year, lesser-known traders in Dubai, Istanbul, and Hong Kong have assumed control of this trade.

Last year, Mali and Ghana emerged as significant gold suppliers to the UAE, shipping 95.7 tons and 81 tons, respectively. Switzerland remained the primary destination for the UAE’s gold exports, receiving a total of 145 tons.

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