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Russian Demand for Dollars Soars Amid Ukraine Crisis

Published: May 12, 2014 (Issue # 1809)



  • Purchases of foreign currency increased 27 percent from February to a total of $7.4 billion.
    Photo: Evgeny Razumny / For Vedomosti

Consumer desire for dollars and euros soared in March this year amid Russia's annexation of Crimea and escalating political and economic tensions with the West.

Demand for foreign cash grew almost 1.5 times from February to March, reaching $14.3 billion, the highest level since January 2009, according to a report published by the Central Bank. This number incorporates purchases of foreign currency in authorized banks, currency conversions and cash taken out of foreign currency accounts.

The report associates this spike in demand with "the continuing depreciation of the ruble against the primary global currencies and uncertain expectations as to its further movement."

The majority 66 percent of this growth was driven by a wave in cash withdrawals from foreign currency bank accounts. Altogether, individuals withdrew $6.9 billion in dollars and euros in March, an 82 percent increase from February and the highest volume ever recorded by the Central Bank.

Purchases of foreign currency also rose, if less rapidly, with total volume of purchases increasing 27 percent from February to a total of $7.4 billion.

Demand for dollars rose 48 percent from February to $8.8 billion while demand for euros rose 50 percent to $5.3 billion.

Net demand for dollars and euros, or total demand minus the sum of euros and dollars consumers put back into the banking system, grew 2.3 times from February to March, reaching $6.8 billion.

Russian banks responded to escalating demand by hiking up imports of foreign cash from $3.2 billion in February to $15 billion in March.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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