Russian Finance Ministry to Cut Daily FX Purchases This Month

Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Wednesday it would lower the amount of foreign currencies it will buy in July, Reuters reported.

The ministry said it would buy 10 billion roubles ($157.57 million) worth of foreign currency per day between July 5 and Aug. 6, compared with 16.3 billion roubles a day in the previous period.

Total FX purchases on the market will be at 231.0 billion roubles, compared with 310.3 billion in the previous month, the ministry said.

A Reuters poll showed analysts had on average expected state FX purchases to reach 285 billion roubles in the period from July 5 to Aug. 6.

The actual amount of purchases will be higher than the finance ministry had planned as the central bank this year started carrying out the FX purchases it had postponed in 2018 due to the rouble’s volatility.

The ruble slid on Wednesday to its weakest level since late June, hurt by pressure from dividend payments and fading optimism over the G20 summit, while the benchmark MOEX stock index climbed to a record high.

At 0736 GMT, the rouble was 0.4% weaker against the dollar at 63.57, a level last seen on June 21. Against the euro, the rouble lost 0.3% to trade at 71.66.

“The pressure on rouble at the beginning of the month will be higher due to the likely conversion of part of dividend payments into (foreign) currency,” Otkritie Broker’s analyst Andrei Kochetkov said.