MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Reuters) - A Russian Finance Ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday that the ministry had started converting foreign currency from its Reserve Fund into roubles, via its accounts at the central bank, earlier this week.
Maxim Oreshkin, head of the Finance Ministry’s long-term strategic planning department, said the ministry intended to complete the conversion of 500 billion roubles ($8.01 billion), the amount that the government plans to spend from the Reserve Fund this year, by the end of the week.
The conversion will not go via the forex market, at least initially, but the money could be used by the Treasury to be placed in Russian banks via deposit auctions, he said.
The central bank said in a response to questions from Reuters that it would take into account the situation on the forex market when considering when to convert the Reserve Fund money on the currency market.
The bank added that the conversion would not affect inflationary processes in itself, as the bank would use its other tools to compensate for the increase in rouble liquidity. ($1 = 62.4250 roubles) (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Alexander Winning and Jason Bush)