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Markets
Russian Finance Ministry Sells Foreign-Currency Reserves
From the Wall Street Journal of Tue, 23 Dec 2014 04:43:29 EST

MOSCOW—The Russian finance ministry sold some of its foreign-currency reserves last week to support the battered ruble, according to data released Tuesday by Russia’s central bank.

The Bank of Russia said it sold $420 million on Dec. 19 and $500 million on Dec. 18 at request of the federal treasury, a part of the finance ministry.

The sales are the first since the finance ministry, which holds its funds at the central bank, said last week it would start selling its excessive holdings of foreign currency on the market to prop up the “extremely undervalued” ruble. The finance ministry holds about $7 billion of foreign-currency reserves but hasn’t said how much it would sell.

The intervention from the finance ministry is separate from the central bank’s foreign currency sales, which have exceeded $10 billion so far this month.

News of the finance ministry’s action came as the ruble firmed to trade at 54.9 versus the dollar in early afternoon trade on the Moscow exchange, after hitting 52.88—its strongest level it two weeks—shortly after trading started.

The ruble has rebounded from its record low of 80.10 versus the dollar hit last week, propped up by a recovery in oil prices and the domestic month-end tax period.

Write to Andrey Ostroukh at andrey.ostroukh@wsj.com



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