March 12 Russia's finance ministry said on
Wednesday it will wait for at least another two weeks before
resuming daily foreign currency purchases to transfer excess
revenues to one of its sovereign wealth funds, partly because
the rouble is too weak.
The ministry indicated last month that it would convert
around $5.8 billion to add to its $87 billion Reserve Fund, one
of two sovereign funds financed from oil taxes.
It needs to convert the funds into foreign currency and
announced a gradual transfer that would involve it buying the
equivalent of 3.5 billion roubles ($95.8 million) a day over
However, it halted the programme on March 4 following the
rouble's plunge to record lows against the dollar and the euro
after President Vladimir Putin declared Russia's right to
intervene militarily in Ukraine.
"For now we aren't rushing" to resume purchases, Deputy
Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev was quoted as saying by the
Interfax news agency.
"To be honest, it seems to us up until now that the exchange
rate (of the dollar) is a bit expensive, that is we are in no
hurry to buy at a rate of 36 roubles plus some kopecks."
The dollar was worth 36.50 roubles on Wednesday
, having gained 11 percent since the end of last
year as the rouble has been hit by Russia's involvement in the
crisis in Ukraine and volatility in emerging markets as the U.S.
Federal Reserve began scaling back its stimulus programme.
"We are now looking closely at the situation. In principle I
think we will wait another couple of weeks and return to this
question," Moiseev said.
He said a decision on the mechanism for resumed foreign
currency purchases would be taken by April 1.
(Reporting by Jason Bush; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Susan