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Showing posts with label Reuters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reuters. Show all posts

Russians drinking less, living longer, WHO says


 Russia remains a nation of heavy drinkers, but alcohol consumption has fallen 43 percent from 2003 to 2016, a key factor in the country’s rapid rise in life expectancy, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

Russians consume the equivalent of 11-12 liters worth of pure ethanol a year, among the world’s highest consumption levels, but the reduction since 2003 has substantially reduced mortality, the WHO said in a report.

Male life expectancy sank to a low of 57 years in the 1990s, but began to climb significantly in 2003 as drinking levels peaked, the report said.

It now stands at almost 68 years for men and 78 years for women. Mortality resulting from all causes dropped by 39 percent from 2003 to 2018 in men and by 36 percent for women, according to the study, which looked at trends over almost 30 years.

The study said there was a clear correlation between national alcohol consumption and mortality rates and life expectancy, and that the reduction in drinking resulted from government policies adopted from 2000.

“...our publication provides a clear causal link between the implementation of effective alcohol policies and a reversal of mortality trends,” the study wrote.

President Vladimir Putin who has been in power since the turn of the century is battling a demographic slump. Last year the population contracted by 86,000 people, the first annual contraction recorded in a decade, the state statistics service said.

Putin has long cultivated an image of sobriety in contrast to his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, whom many Russians associate with drunken and embarrassing gaffes.

The study pointed to alcohol policy reforms aimed at reducing the share of smuggled or home-made alcohol on the market, increasing alcohol excise taxes and raising the minimum price for vodka and other spirits.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-alcohol/russians-drinking-less-living-longer-who-says-idUSKBN1WG3G3
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RUSSIA SURPASSES CHINA IN GOLD HOLDINGS


The Central Bank of Russia reported purchasing 8.5 million troy ounces of gold in January-November 2018. With its 67.6 million ounces of gold Russia is now the world's fifth largest holder behind the US, Germany, France and Italy.
China dropped to sixth place as it reported an increase in gold reserves just once in more than two years – to 59.6 million ounces in December 2018 from 59.2 million ounces in October 2016.
Industry sources told Reuters that Western sanctions against Russia lifted the country’s gold buying to record highs in 2018. One of the reasons Russia's Central Bank was betting on the yellow metal was because it could not be frozen or blacklisted, sources explained.
“It seems that there is an aim to diversify from American assets,” said a source in one of Russia’s gold producers, referring to the Central Bank's holdings.
While purchases of the precious metal by Russia jumped last year the country continued getting rid of US Treasury securities.
Earlier this month, Russia’s Central Bank reported that it cut the share of the US dollar in the country’s foreign reserves to a historic low, transferring nearly $100 billion into the euro, the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan. The step came as a part of a broader state policy on eliminating reliance on the greenback.
According to sources, the Central Bank has been purchasing a significant portion of Russia's domestic gold production, which is also rising.
The world's third largest gold producer, Russia boosted its 2017 gold output by six percent. Data from Russia's Finance Ministry showed the country produced 8.5 million ounces (265 tons of gold) in January-October 2018. The Russian gold mining sector has nearly doubled its volume of extraction over the last two decades.
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