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Russia to more than halve deferred FX purchases in coming month

Published 12/05/2023, 04:27 AM
Updated 12/05/2023, 04:34 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk near a board showing currency exchange rates of the U.S. dollar and euro against the rouble in Moscow, Russia, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's finance ministry said on Tuesday it would decrease the volume of deferred foreign currency purchases in the coming month by more than 2-1/2 times to a cumulative total of 244.8 billion roubles ($2.68 billion).

The purchases are deferred because the central bank in August stopped buying foreign currency until the end of the year to avoid aggravating pressure on the rouble, which tumbled past 100 to the dollar in August and September.

The finance ministry said its purchases of foreign currencies and gold for the period from Dec. 7 to Jan. 12 that will be deferred to a later date would amount to 11.7 billion roubles per day.

In the previous period, between Nov. 8 and Dec. 6, the ministry had planned to buy foreign currency worth 621.1 billion roubles.

Under its budget rule, Russia sells foreign currency from its wealth fund to make up for any shortfall in revenue from oil and gas exports, or makes purchases in the event of a surplus.

Last week the central bank said currency interventions on the domestic market would resume in January, but with an adjusted formula that should support the rouble as calculations would include the difference between deferred interventions and the volume of rainy day fund spending on financing the government's budget deficit for 2023.

The ministry was selling foreign currency for the first half of 2023 as Western sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine hit energy revenues. Since August, it has purchased FX as commodity prices have risen and energy revenues recovered.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk near a board showing currency exchange rates of the U.S. dollar and euro against the rouble in Moscow, Russia, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

The ministry estimated excess oil and gas revenues in December at 362 billion roubles. It said energy revenues in November had declined to 961.7 billion roubles from 1.635 billion roubles in October.

($1 = 91.3625 roubles)

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