Russia’s Finance Ministry has allowed the National Wealth Fund (NWF) to diversify its assets by investing part of the funds into precious metals, including gold.

The share of gold, which is seen as one of the most “protective” assets, has been significantly boosted in Russia’s foreign exchange reserves, the ministry said.

The step is aimed at diversifying the assets allocated by the NWF for ensuring the safety of the funds, as well as for increasing the yields, according to the ministry which will make the draft public in the near future.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov had previously supported the idea of allocating the NWF assets more efficiently, highlighting that precious metals are much more sustainable for investments than financial market assets in the long-term.

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In February, the Ministry of Finance reduced the portion of US dollars and euros in the currency structure of its National Wealth Fund from 45% to 35%. Instead, it turned to more Japanese yen and increased the share of assets held in the Chinese yuan by 15%. State investors retained a 10% stake in the British pound.

The NWF, a part of Russia’s federal budget assets, was created to support the national pension system. Its funds can be used to cover budget deficits in times of crisis. As of November 1, the assets of the fund amounted to more than $167 billion, which is about 12% of the country’s GDP.

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