-Russian Reserve Fund makes history
Russia’s Reserve Fund, which was established in 2008 as a means to collect and use additional income from oil and natural gas, has been completely depleted.
According to a Russian Ministry of Finance statement, the country spent 1 trillion rubles (about $17.5 billion) last month from the Reserve Fund -- the last of the funds, for the closure of the budget deficit.
Meanwhile, another similar Russian fund, the National Welfare Fund, is reported to have declined month-on-month to $65.1 billion in November from $66.9 billion in December 2017. The ministry underlined that this fund would be used now to cover the budget deficit in Russia in the future.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in a recent statement that the country's budget deficit was realized at 1.5 trillion rubles in 2017.
-New sanctions on horizon for Russia
It is expected that at least 300 people, including politicians, members of the government, entrepreneurs and those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be included on the new list of sanctions against Russia, which the U.S. plans to announce by Feb. 1.
Russian media allege that many public oil companies such as Rosneft, Gazpromneft, Surgutneftegaz are on the new sanctions list, with companies such as Rosoboroneksport and Novatek also included.
Russia to raise foreign exchange purchase to record level
The Russian Finance Ministry announced that it would increase its foreign exchange (FX) purchases to a record level of 15.1 billion rubles a day.
In the statement made by the ministry, it stated that oil prices would rise to the highest levels of the last three years and between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, the FX purchases will increase by 15.1 billion rubles a day.
A total of 257.1 billion rubles (about $4.5 billion) have been allocated for the FX purchases on these dates -- a record high level for Russia.
The ministry’s statement said that the previous record for FX purchases amounted to 12.7 billion rubles per day in December 2017. The Russian Ministry of Finance started buying FX in February last year through additional income from oil and natural gas exports to reduce the impact of fluctuations in oil prices on the Russian ruble.