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No grounds for ruble weakening in first quarter of 2015 — finance minister

December 26, 2014, 15:05 UTC+3
Russian’s Finance Ministry may intervene in the domestic foreign exchange market with foreign currency purchases if necessary in 2015, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said
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© TASS/Sergei Konkov

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. No grounds for ruble weakening in the first quarter of 2015, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters on Friday.

Russian’s Finance Ministry may intervene in the domestic foreign exchange market with foreign currency purchases if necessary in 2015, the minister said.

The Russian government’s anti-crisis reserve will reach about 190 billion rubles (around $3.58 billion) in 2015, he added. The 2015 budget sets aside 60 billion rubles ($1.13 billion) as an anti-crisis reserve fund, Siluanov said.

“Considering the amount of underspent funds, slightly over 130 billion rubles ($2.45 billion) have remained. Therefore, the total anti-crisis fund for 2015 will reach 190 billion rubles,” the finance minister said.

Russia’s budget surplus this year is due to reach 0.7% of GDP, with due regard to re-capitalization of banks through the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA), and the budget deficit will be 0.7% of GDP, Siluanov said.

Russia's GDP may fall by 4% in 2015 if oil price stands at $60 per barrel, he added. Russia’s budget by 2017 needs to be brought to balance at the oil price of $70 per barrel, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists on Friday.

“We see that we need to have a balanced budget by 2017 at the oil price of $70 per barrel. The Finance Ministry sees such a task by 2017,” Siluanov said. He added that the expenses at that period will remain at around 15 trillion rubles ($294.6 billion).

The revisions to the Russian budget in 2015 are based on 51 rubles per dollar and the oil price at $60 per barrel, Siluanov told journalists. Siluanov said “this is the rate which, according to our estimates, corresponds to the balance of payments.”

Russia will not demand Ukraine’s $3 billion bond early repayment, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday. By now, Ukraine has repaid Russia the second coupon of $75.5 million on time and in full, the finance minister said.

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