Russia began to significantly reduce its investments in US national debt in the spring of 2018, in efforts that came amid Moscow’s drive to increase its gold reserves.
In June 2019, Russia slashed investments in the US government debt to $10.848 billion, according to data released by the US Treasury Department.
The reduction comes as Russia continues to dump US bonds for the fourth consecutive month.
In June, Russian investments in the US national debt totalled $12.024 billion, while in April and May, the figure stood at $12.136 billion and $13.715 billion, respectively.
The last time Russia increased investments in US bonds was in February 2019, when they grew to $14.507 billion compared to January’s figure of $13.180 billion.
Russia started to drastically cut its investments in US public debt in January 2018, when they were slashed to $96.898 billion.
In April of that year, the total value of US sovereign debt investment diminished by almost half, to $48.724 billion; in May, they already amounted for only $14.905 billion.
Even though subsequent months have seen the volume of investments rise and fall, the figure hasn’t hit the $15 billion threshold since then.
By contrast, in 2017, Russia increased its US Treasury bond holdings from almost $70 billion in March to more than $92 billion in December.
Russia decreasing its share of US Treasury securities comes amid Moscow’s push to increase its gold reserves. Last month, the Central Bank of Russia reported that the country’s bullion holdings had totalled 2,208 tonnes, worth $100.3 billion, as of 1 July.
Moscow has repeatedly criticised the US for “abusing” the reserve status of its currency, with Russian President Vladimir Putin describing the dollar as a “tool for the issuing country to put pressure on the rest of the world”.