MOSCOW, April 24 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves (or international reserves) went up by 4.3 billion U.S. dollars over a week from April 12 through April 18, 2014, to reach 482 billion U.S. dollars, the Central Bank said on Thursday. Previously, such a considerable growth was registered at the end of November 2013.
Russia’s international reserves have been growing for two weeks in a row. Over the preceding week (April 4 - April 11, 2014), Russia’s international reserves increased by 3.8 billion U.S. dollar and amounted to 477.7 billion U.S. dollars as of April 11. Thus, the two-week’s growth exceed eight billion U.S. dollars.
As of January 1, 2014, the Russian gold and foreign exchange reserves amounted to 510.5 billion U.S. dollars (in compliance with updated information). However, as the Russian rouble was weakening, the country’s gold and currency reserves were going down.
Vladimir Osakovsky, the chief economist for Russia and the CIS at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said he did not think the growth in Russia’s international reserves over the recent two weeks was not linked with the Central Bank’s activity on the currency market, in particular with foreign currency purchases. “There are a lot of reasons for such a growth. One of such reasons may be in the expansion of the foreign exchange position in the banking system,” he said. According to the expert, banks may keep foreign currency on the Central Bank’s correspondent accounts or use it to draw rouble-denominated liquidity through its currency-denominated swaps. “Both options are taken into account in the assessment of the international reserves,” he said.
Foreign currency and gold reserves are highly liquid foreign assets at the disposal of the Bank of Russia and the Russian government on a certain date. They comprise monetary gold, Special Drawing Rights, reserves with the International Monetary Fund, and foreign currency. Foreign exchange and gold reserves are external assets controlled by the monetary authorities and may be used for financing balance-of-payments deficits, for interventions in currency markets affecting the national currency's rates or for similar purposes.