Russia’s largest exporters required to sell foreign currency - report
MOSCOW, December 23 (RAPSI) – Five major Russian state-owned companies engaged in export operations will be required to sell foreign currency in the next two months, feeding about $1 billion into the market every day, Kommersant newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The government has reportedly asked Gazprom, Rosneft, Alrosa, Zarubezhneft, Kristall Production Corporation, their subsidiaries to reduce by March 1, 2015, their foreign currency reserves and stick to a level fixed on October 1. This is to be done in accordance with a schedule set by the Central Bank, according to Kommersant.
The companies on the list would have to sell nearly all their foreign currency revenues accumulated after October 1, the newspaper reported, citing an undisclosed source with direct knowledge of the matter. This would amount to approximately $40-$50 billion, most of it to be sold by Gazprom and Rosneft.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier that the Central Bank and the government wouldn't require exporters to sell foreign currency. However, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reportedly signed an executive order on December 17 requiring the companies to sell foreign currency.
Representatives of the five companies have refused to discuss this initiative.
The measure comes on the heels of the recent ruble collapse, where the national currency exchange rate dropped 20% overnight after the Central Bank upped the rate to 17,5%. Over the past week the ruble regained some of the lost position, but is still trading considerably lower. The national currency's fall is tied to a number of economic sanctions imposed over the Ukrainian situation and the rapid drop in oil prices, which occured after OPEC members decided against lowering production to halt the price drop.