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Appreciated Dollar Trims CBR Reserves

February 15, 2008 | www.kommersant.com

First time this year, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has announced decline in the gold and foreign exchange reserves. The losses were suffered in the first week of February, when the amount narrowed by $3.5 billion.
According to data that the CBR released via its web yesterday, Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves lowered by $3.5 billion from February 1 to 8, sinking to $481.0 billion. The decline is the maximum of the past half-year – the reserves shed by $5.5 billion from August 10 to 17 in the wake of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis that clouded global financial markets. Those problems led to the capital outflow from all emerging economies, including Russia.

The capital outflow reached $9 billion in January, CBR First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukaev announced past week, predicting the trend to survive till May.

The analysts give the capital outflow as one of the reasons that drove down the country’s stockpile of gold and foreign exchange. Another cause is their revaluation. Yaroslav Lisovolik from Deutsche Bank said the capital outflow doesn’t lead to reserves growth, but the core reason of their reduction is revaluation - the increase in dollar’s cost to basic currencies.

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