Main Aggregates of External Sector Statistics in January–June 2019

According to Bank of Russia’s data, the surplus in the current account of the balance of payments of the Russian Federation in January–June 2019 totaled $44.3 billion, decreasing by $3.4 billion on the January–June 2018 outcome. The driving factor was the declining surplus of the trade balance due to the falling values of export supplies against the backdrop of deteriorating market conditions. The deficit of the services’ balance has not virtually changed, with exports and imports volumes remaining at the levels of the comparable period of the preceding year. The combined effect of other components on the magnitude of the current account balance was  negligible.

The surplus in the current account of the balance of payments stipulated the net lending of the rest of the world. It was shaped by the outpacing growth of residents’ investment in foreign assets vis-à-vis incurrence of liabilities to nonresidents. The surplus on financial transactions of the private sector grew in January–June 2019 to $23.5 billion (from $11.1 billion in January–June 2018). The key role in shaping the aggregate’s dynamics was played by banks’ transactions to allocate funds on accounts and deposits in nonresident banks and extinguish their interbank liabilities to nonresidents. Other sectors’ transactions with nonresidents remained broadly in balance as the increase in their foreign assets corresponded to that in external liabilities.

International reserves of the Russian Federation gained in January–June 2019 $35.2 billion against $30.6 billion in January–June 2018, mainly, as a result of foreign currency purchases on the domestic market under the fiscal rule as well as due to receipts of proceeds from  Eurobond placement by the Government of the Russian Federation.

The size of external debt of the Russian Federation as of July 31, 2019 totaled $479.8 billion. From the beginning of the year, debt liabilities increased by $25.2 billion, primarily, as a result of growing indebtedness to nonresidents in the form of sovereign debt securities denominated both in Russian rubles and in foreign currencies.

The outcome of the first half of 2019 was the buildup of foreign assets  in excess of the increase of external liabilities, which stipulated the gain of $11.0 billion in Net International Investment Position of the Russian Federation reaching $378.5 billion.

30 September 2019

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