10 Dec 2010 15:54

NBU to include Russian ruble among forex reserves

KYIV. Dec 10 (Interfax) - The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) intends to include the Russian ruble as a forex reserve thereby increasing the diversification of gold and forex reserves in the country, the NBU's Governor, Volodymyr Stelmakh, told Interfax.

"We could hold onto reserves including those in Russian rubles: the monetary fund [the International Monetary Fund] has approved this," he said.

"Now our reserves will include the Russian ruble," Stelmakh said.

Stelmakh said that discussions are underway at the intergovernmental level on the option for intensified the role of national currencies in trade operations. "So far, we only have horizontal connections. But I think that following this [decision] there'll be a sharp turn [in the policy on forex reserve formation]," he said.

Ukraine's international reserves in November went down by 2.1%, or by $713.1 million, to $33.538 billion. They went up by 26.5%, or by $7.034 billion, in January-November.

Forex accounted for 96.4% of the reserves or $32.322 billion in dollar equivalent s of the beginning of December. The NBU in November bought euros, Swiss francs and Australian dollars, but sold U.S. dollars.

The State Statistics Committee has said Ukrainian-Russian trade in goods and services came to almost $29 billion or 32.2% of total trade by Ukraine in January-September 2010.

The NBU has said transactions in rubles increased in the current account in H1 2010 compared with the same period of last year: to 12.6% from 8.2% for incoming payments and to 6.4% from 4.5% for outgoing payments. But U.S. dollars still prevailed at 72.9% of incoming and 68.5% of outgoing payments.

Dollars accounted for 73.1% of gross foreign debt and rubles for just 1.6% as of July 1, 2010.