10 Sep 2009 14:09

Purchases of foreign currency in Russia grow 48% in July - Central Bank

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) - Individuals bought $4.6 billion worth of foreign currency at exchange offices and banks in July 2009, up 48% from June, the Central Bank said in a report on the domestic currency market.

Purchases of euros grew 50% to $1.8 billion in the dollar equivalent in July, while purchases of dollars rose 45% to $2.8 billion.

The number of operations in which individuals bought foreign currency increased 19% to 2.9 million transactions with the average amount of each purchase rising 28% to $1,583.

The increase in forex purchases on the domestic market can be attributed to individuals' need for foreign currency at the start of the summer holiday season, the Central Bank said.

A further decline in the ruble's exchange rate against the euro and the dollar also contributed to the increased forex purchases in July.

The amount of currency withdrawn by individuals from forex accounts opened at authorized banks totaled $2.8 billion in July, up 8% from June with the volume of euros withdrawn rising 14% and the volume of dollars increasing 2%.

Total demand for currency in Russia (the amount bought at exchange points, received via conversion and withdrawn from forex accounts) grew 30% to $7.4 billion in July and exceeded the demand seen in July 2007 by 18% and the demand seen in July 2008 by 7%.

The total amount of currency sold at exchange offices and banks that convert and transfer currency to forex accounts declined 1% to $6.5 billion in July from June. The amount sold was 2% higher than in July 2007, but 4% lower than the amount sold in July 2008.

The volume of dollars sold in July fell 4%, while the total amount of euros sold rose 2%. As a result, the share of dollars in total forex sales declined to 56% in July from 58% in June, while the share of euros rose to 43% from 42%.

Individuals sold $2.7 billion at exchange offices and banks in July, down 12% from June. Dollar sales fell 18%, while euro sales declined 4%.

The number of operations in which individuals sold foreign currency remained virtually unchanged at 2.8 million transactions with the average amount of each purchase falling 10% to $923.

A total of $3.8 billion worth of foreign currency was transferred to individual forex accounts at authorized banks in July, up 8% from June.

Total demand for forex exceeded the amount sold in July, resulting in net demand of $0.9 billion, the first time since February that net demand has been seen. Operations with dollars accounted for the bulk of the net demand.

Banks brought in $0.7 billion worth of currency from outside the country in July, up almost 600% from the previous month. The amount of dollars brought in by banks soared 500%, while the amount of euros imported skyrocketed 800%.

Banks exported $0.9 billion of forex in July, down 63% from June.

Turnover on the interbank market fell 13% to $3.5 billion, while turnover with individual operations grew 13% to $13.9 billion.

As in previous months, the total amount of forex shipped out of the country without opening a bank account continued to exceed the amount brought in. The surplus of forex transfers made without opening an account increased 10% to $0.8 billion.