CORRECTED - Rest of 2008 Russia oil cash to go to Wealth Fund
(Corrects para 8-9 to make clear the NWF is not yet allowed to invest in corporate debt)
MOSCOW Aug 20 (Reuters) - Russia has filled up its Reserve Fund for this year, and further cash from high oil prices will go to its National Wealth Fund, which is earmarked for riskier investments, its deputy finance minister said on Wednesday.
The two funds were formed earlier this year, splitting up the old oil stabilisation fund. The value of the Reserve Fund is capped at 10 percent of Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) and aims to insure the budget against a fall in oil prices.
The rest of the cash is soaked up by the National Wealth Fund (NWF), which the government plans to use as part of reforms aimed at propping up its pension system. "Yesterday we added 420 billion roubles ($17.09 billion) to the Reserve Fund. That was the first addition this year," Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin told a news conference.
"We think that with this sum we have brought the fund up to the 10 percent of GDP level. In the remaining months (of the year) the main flow of crude revenue will go into the National Wealth Fund."
Pankin said last month that the government was in talks with UBS (UBSN.VX) and other Swiss banks on the management of the two funds.
On Aug. 1 the NWF totalled $33 billion, and the Reserve Fund totalled $130 billion. Although both funds invest in top-grade foreign sovereign and quasi-sovereign bonds, plans for a more diverse -- and potentially more risky -- investment strategy for the NWF are due to be submitted by the Finance Ministry on Oct. 1.
As a result, the NWF may be allowed to invest in highly-rated corporate debt and stocks.
"In the long term, if looking at 10, 15, 20 years, investments in stocks are more financially effective than in government bonds or bank deposits," Pankin said.
"So the Finance Ministry is looking at the possibility of including corporate debt and equities into the list of assets with which we work."
(Reporting by Toni Vorobyova, Editing by Patrick Graham)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this