(Bloomberg) -- Russia became the United Arab Emirates’ top source of gold last year after Western countries imposed sanctions on supplies following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UAE last year imported 96.4 tons of gold from Russia, more than any other country, according to the United Nations’ Comtrade database. That’s roughly a third of Russia’s annual mine production, and a more than 15-fold increase year-on-year in the UAE’s gold imports from the country.
The UAE has long been a key hub for precious metals, particularly from Africa and India, but last year was the first time it played a major role in trading Russian gold. Before the war, almost all of Russia’s bullion was shipped to London, the world’s top market, but it rapidly became taboo among the banks that used to handle it.
Western sanctions have severed Russia’s usual export routes, forcing the country’s miners to find new ways to sell their metal. Little-known traders in Dubai, Istanbul and Hong Kong have taken over the trade, Bloomberg reported earlier this year.
Other key suppliers of gold to the UAE last year were Mali and Ghana, which shipped 95.7 tons and 81 tons respectively. Switzerland was the top destination for the Arab nation’s gold exports, taking 145 tons.
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