Russia's Reserve Fund little changed over January

MOSCOW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Russia’s Reserve Fund grew slightly to $16.18 billion by Feb. 1 from $16.03 billion at the start of 2017, finance ministry data showed on Thursday.

The Reserve Fund, depleted over the past few years as the finance ministry plugged holes in the budget, grew because of exchange-rate changes and as it received interest payments, the finance ministry said.

The fund, which was accumulated over years of high oil prices, dropped sharply in late 2016 because of year-end budget spending.

The Reserve Fund may grow this year as the finance ministry plans to limit spending from it by buying foreign currency when oil prices are over $40 a barrel.

The finance ministry also said on Thursday that the National Wealth Fund, a fund designed to help balance the pension system, stood at $72.46 billion as of Feb. 1 versus $71.87 billion at the start of 2017. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Alexander Winning)