The EU has a Russian gold ban in its sights as it hammers out its next round of sanctions – report

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French president Emmanuel Macron. Brian Snyder/Reuters
French president Emmanuel Macron. Brian Snyder/Reuters
  • The European Union is looking to ban imports of Russian gold in its next round of sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
  • The 28-member EU is following in the footsteps of the G7 group of nations, which plans a similar ban.
  • Russia is the second-largest gold miner in the world, exporting $15.5 billion of the precious metal a year.
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The European Union is working on a new plan to ban imports of Russian gold, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the 28-member bloc is targeting a gold ban as part of its next possible round of sanctions on Moscow, in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

It will likely mirror a similar planned ban announced last week by the G7 group of nations, which includes EU members France, Germany and Italy as well as the US, Canada, Japan and the UK.

The goal of the measures is to dry up funding for Russia's war on Ukraine by squeezing its sources of revenue, as with existing sanctions on the country's energy exports.

Russia is the second-largest gold mining country in the world, and it exports around $15.5 billion of the precious metal each year.

When the UK announced its own ban, the government said that gold exports had become valuable to the Russian elite in recent months, with oligarchs buying gold bullion to avoid Western sanctions.

"The measures we have announced today will directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin's war machine," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

There has been a de-facto ban on Russian gold from the London market, as most buyers there stopped the imports when the London Bullion Market Association struck the country from its accredited list. But there are no sanctions in place explicitly prohibiting Russian gold from being processed in other countries or at other refiners.

Reuters reported earlier in June that the EU was ready to commit to working on more sanctions and flagged gold as an asset target. The EU has imposed six packages of sanctions against Russia since President Vladimir Putin's forces invaded Ukraine in February.

Gold slipped 1.2% to just under $1,785 an ounce on Friday.

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