LONDON (Reuters) - Switzerland imported gold from Russia in May for the first time since the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February, Swiss customs data showed on Tuesday.
Switzerland is the world's biggest refining and transit centre for gold and Russia is one of the biggest bullion producers.
Western sanctions on Russia have not directly targeted commercial gold shipments but many banks, shippers and refiners stopped dealing with Russian metal after the conflict in Ukraine began.
Switzerland received 3.1 tonnes of gold worth around $200 million from Russia in May, accounting for around 2-3% of its total gold imports, the customs data show.
That compares with an average of around 2 tonnes of gold a month imported by Switzerland from Russia in the 12 months to February.
On the export side, Swiss shipments of gold to China fell in May but exports to India rose to their highest in six months. China and India are the two largest bullion consumer markets.
Following are numbers and comparisons.
SWISS TRADE DATA (KG)
SHIPMENTS TO KEY MARKETS (KG)
To China To Hong To India
May-22 9,992 3,028 35,674
Apr-22 15,946 96 8,957
May-21 32,750 3,800 2,037
* Source: Swiss customs. Data subject to revision by source.
(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)