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November, 2009

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Russia considering gold sale

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

MOSCOW

By NATALIYA VASILYEVA

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Wednesday that Russia is considering selling gold on world markets to cash in on high prices as the government faces its first budget deficit in a decade.

Kudrin’s remarks follow a report last week that the Gokhran precious metals depository was planning to sell up to 50 metric tons, or 1.6 million ounces, of gold in London by the end of the year.

With gold prices reaching record highs of over $1,000 per ounce, the sale could bring Russia some $1.7 billion.

The finance minister gave no details Wednesday in remarks to journalists carried by state news agencies.

“We will continue to study this issue and the decision may come in the next few days,” Kudrin was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying.

The head of the state diamond and precious metals exporter said Tuesday that no sale was planned this year, in what analysts described as an attempt to prevent expectations of a major sale from affecting the market price.

Russia is running a budget deficit of 7.7 percent of gross domestic product