World Economy

RCB Has Enough Forex for 2015 Debt Needs

RCB Has Enough Forex for 2015 Debt NeedsRCB Has Enough Forex for 2015 Debt Needs

The Russian Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves (FXRs) are sufficient to cover the country’s external debt obligations next year, Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) has said in its report.

As of December 1, the Bank of Russia’s FXRs totaled $361 billion. “This is more than sufficient to cover the country’s external debt payment obligations through 2015,” which amount to $130 billion across government, banks and corporate debt, the ratings agency said, according to Itar Tass report Saturday.

Moody’s says in case of necessity, Russia’s authorities may use two special savings Funds – the National Wealth Fund (NWF) and Reserve Fund (RF) – for paying external debt.

“The need for such action could arise if oil prices were to fall still further, eroding the current account surplus, or if there were a further escalation of tensions/international sanctions,” the report says.

The report notes that the Central Bank’s FX sales to support the ruble dropped from $29 billion in October to $1 billion in November after the decision to switch to a freely floating ruble.

Meanwhile, the severe pressure on the ruble resulting from a fall in oil prices poses a significant challenge to the new exchange rate policy and the CBR will “intervene more aggressively to support the ruble if it believes financial stability is threatened.”

Furthermore, as long as the Ukraine crisis persists, Russia will have little or no access to foreign exchange on the capital markets, so Moody’s expects that private and public companies’ reliance on the central bank’s reserves will eventually increase.