Russian central bank lowers U.S. dollars share in reserves due to possible risks

People gather near a currency exchange office in Moscow, December 17, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank has lowered the share of dollars in its reserves because of the external risks the country could face, First Deputy Governor Ksenia Yudayeva said on Monday.

The United States has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, including for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Moscow denies the U.S. accusation of interference.

The Russian central bank has said that it would consider economic, financial and geopolitical risks when assessing the country’s reserves.

“We have tried to bring this (reserves) structure into accordance with the risks we believe we may face,” Yudayeva told members of lower house of parliament, presenting the central bank’s results for 2018.

“This is why we significantly lowered the share of the dollar,” she said, adding that Russia had increased the share of euro, Chinese yuan and gold in its state reserves.

Last month the central bank said that dollars made up 22.6 percent of its foreign currency reserves at the end of September 2018, down from 46.2 percent a year earlier.

The bank, which reports changes in reserves with a delay of six months, said Chinese yuan accounted for 14.4 percent of its foreign currency reserves as of Sept. 30, 2018, up from 1.0 percent on Sept. 30, 2017.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, writing Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Gareth Jones