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Russia eases some curbs on transferring money abroad

Economy Apr 01, 2022 05:01AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Russian state flag flies over the Central Bank headquarters in Moscow, Russia March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

(Reuters) -Russia's central bank said on Friday it was softening restrictions on foreign fund transfers for individuals for a six-month period.

The bank said the measures, which raise an earlier limit on funds that can be transferred abroad, did not apply to residents and non-residents from countries that had imposed sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

"Within a calendar month, individuals have the right to transfer no more than 10,000 U.S. dollars or the equivalent in another currency from the Russian Federation from their account in a Russian bank to their account or to another person abroad," the bank said in a statement.

The bank added that transfers abroad from bank accounts of non-residents, individuals or legal entities from countries that had imposed sanctions were suspended for the next six months.

The measure will ease strain on Russians who regularly send funds to relatives abroad, or to those who have left the country without access to their funds at home.

"From an economic point of view, this is a first and still very cautious step towards easing restrictions on the movement of capital," said Dmitry Polevoy, an analyst at the Moscow-based brokerage Loko-Invest.

"The choice of (lifting some restrictions) for individuals is also understandable ...the risks for financial stability are lower."

Earlier this month, the central bank said it was temporarily suspending transfers by foreign legal entities and individuals from several countries to accounts abroad. It also limited transfers at the equivalent of no more than $5,000 a month.

The regulator said last week that Russia's central bank imposed in the past month on capital flows out of the country were a tit-for-tat move in response to part of its reserves being frozen by Western countries.

Western sanctions imposed on Russia for what Moscow calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine have limited the central bank's ability to support the rouble currency with dollars and euros held in its foreign currency and gold reserves.

Russia eases some curbs on transferring money abroad
 

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