Russia FinMin to cut FX purchases more than eightfold in May

MOSCOW, May 4 (Reuters) - Russia’s finance ministry said on Thursday it would cut its purchases of foreign currency on the domestic market by more than eightfold in May but said it could step up the purchases in future.

The finance ministry will spend 8.5 billion roubles ($147.52 million) on forex purchases between May 10 and June 6, down from 69.9 billion in the previous month.

The daily purchases will amount to around 0.4 billion roubles between May 10 and June 6, the ministry said, or nearly $7 million.

The finance ministry started buying foreign currency in February with the help of the central bank for the country’s fiscal buffers.

It says the purchases are aimed at shielding Russia from external shocks, but some analysts see them as an attempt to stop the rouble from strengthening too much. ($1 = 57.6175 roubles) (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Darya Korsunskaya; Editing by Alexander Winning)