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The volume of cash currency in the hands of Russians for the first time exceeded $ 100 billion

The volume of cash currency in the hands of Russians for the first time exceeded $ 100 billion

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As of February 1, 2023, Russian households had 7.33 trillion rubles in their hands. cash foreign currency, or $105.4 billion in terms of dollars. According to RBC, this follows from the data of the Bank of Russia.

This is a record volume since 2018, for the entire time of available statistics. The level of $100 billion was passed by the end of November: on December 1, the volume of foreign currency cash reached $101.1 billion, but the Central Bank reflected this in its data only now. From February 1, the regulator clarified the figures “due to obtaining additional information on external sector statistics,” according to the table of the Bank of Russia.

If we compare the new data with the previously published data, we can conclude that the unrecorded increase in cash foreign currency in the hands of the population was outlined in the second half of last year. According to new data, from July 1 to December 1, 2022, the volume of foreign currency cash held by households increased by $4.3 billion compared to $1.3 billion reflected in the old statistics.

The growth of cash currency among the population in conditions when there are restrictions on its withdrawal from bank accounts within Russia means only one thing – the import of banknotes exceeded the export, says Yegor Susin, managing director of Gazprombank Private Banking.

On March 9, 2022, after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, against the backdrop of the raid of depositors on banks and the EU embargo on the import of euro cash into Russia, the Central Bank imposed restrictions on the withdrawal of foreign cash from accounts and deposits. Two days later, the United States imposed an embargo on cash dollars. Now Russians can get their hands on an amount within $10,000 or the equivalent in euros, if the funds were deposited before March 9, 2022. Citizens can also buy cash dollars and euros, but only those that arrived at the cash desks of banks after April 9. The restrictions have already been extended twice. The head of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, explained that the decision could not yet be reviewed, since the ban on the import of dollar and euro banknotes into Russia, introduced in the spring, is still in effect.

“Perhaps, some part of the transfers, according to the Bank of Russia, returned to the country in the form of foreign currency in cash. Theoretically, this is possible: the transfer of capital abroad, the receipt of currency there and its import into Russia. It is not clear how this was assessed, but maybe this is some kind of customs declaration data, ”says Susin.

According to the EAEU Customs Code, no more than $10,000 in cash can be brought into Russia without a declaration. Banknotes and traveler’s checks in different currencies are taken into account, including rubles in terms of the exchange rate on the day the declaration was submitted. The Association of Banks of Russia proposes to increase the limit of foreign currency that can be imported into the country without declarations from $10,000 to $100,000.

The Bank of Russia also revised the methodology for calculating balances on deposits of Russians in banks abroad. As of February 1, the amount of funds amounted to 4.63 trillion rubles, or $66.5 billion. Over the month, it increased by $2 billion. Earlier, the Central Bank disclosed that as of January 1, Russians kept 6.63 trillion rubles on deposits in banks abroad, or $94.3 billion at the exchange rate as of the reporting date.

“The Central Bank takes into account balances on deposits in non-resident banks for transfers, as I understand it. Formally, he attributes this to savings, that is, to deposits, but some part of this amount is just imports, says Susin. – That is, funds on accounts and foreign cards that are transferred to pay for some purchases or services abroad – trips, subscriptions, goods in foreign stores. In a good way, this should be assessed not as savings, but as imports, because this money was spent.” The expert admits that the Bank of Russia could have received new information and “cleared” the savings data from one-time expenses.

“Perhaps this is information from the regulators of those countries where transfers from Russia have been mainly made since last year,” Susin suggests.

Source: Rosbalt

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