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Is Russia Pulling Money Out of U.S. for Safekeeping?

There’s circumstantial evidence that Russia may have yanked tens of billions of dollars in assets out of a custodial account at the U.S. Federal Reserve, possibly to keep it from being frozen by U.S. authorities in case of heightened conflict in Ukraine.

The Federal Reserve holds U.S. Treasury securities in custody on behalf of foreign central banks and other official institutions. This chart from Bloomberg shows the sharpest percentage drop in the Fed’s custodial holdings in records going back to 2002. It’s a decline of $105 billion, or 3.5 percent, from March 5 to March 12. (The Fed’s own report is here.)