Russians have taken from banks a record amount of currency since March 2020 – RBC

Why do Russians take currency from banks

Taking into account brokerage accounts, foreign currency balances of individuals in banks decreased by almost $ 3 billion, this is a significant change that was not predicted, says Yegor Susin, managing director of Gazprombank Private Banking. He believes that this is partly due to the travel of Russians abroad during the November lockdown.

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“One of the factors is the expenses of citizens, said about tourism, which, possibly, increased during the lockdowns, we saw that prices also increased significantly in November for external tourism. We do not yet have accurate data on the import of services, but there are prerequisites for an excessive increase in spending on tourism, ”the expert believes.

Citizens could convert part of the currency funds into rubles and leave them in banks, says Maxim Osadchiy, an analyst at the BKF bank. Funds of individuals in rubles increased by 131 billion rubles, and the growth occurred only in deposits (+189 billion rubles), while the balances on current accounts in rubles decreased by 58 billion rubles, he cites Central Bank statistics. “A possible reason is the reaction of the population to the devaluation of the dollar against the ruble in October, on October 27 the dollar rate fell to 69.5526 rubles per dollar. However, the main reason for this behavior is the growth of interest rates on deposits in rubles, caused by the tightening of the monetary policy of the Central Bank, ”Osadchiy concludes.

Since the beginning of the year, the Central Bank has already doubled the key rate, from 4.25 to 8.5%. By December 17, rates on fixed-term ruble deposits in large Russian banks reached their maximum since the end of 2017, should from the calculations of Frank RG. The profitability of savings products in rubles accelerated growth after the Bank of Russia at the end of October raised the rate immediately by 0.75 percentage points, to 7.5%, and on December 17 – by another 1 percentage point, to 8.5 %. Against this background, banks did not exclude an increase in deposit rates to double-digit values, RBC wrote.

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Selling currency and shifting savings are elements of the rational behavior of households, says Susin: “Recently, we see that with the fall of the ruble and the aggravation of geopolitical rhetoric, the population is more likely to sell foreign currency than buy. Unlike the 2014 crisis, we see a fairly rational approach to foreign exchange transactions, which means a certain anchorage in the ruble exchange rate. “

According to the expert, in December, Russian banks are likely to record an inflow of savings from the population to time deposits and accounts, but “the question is which part will be converted into currency and which will go into the ruble.” “This will indicate whether the transmission of monetary policy is working well now: if we see that a significant part has remained in the ruble, then this will probably be a signal that deposit activity is recovering and the Bank of Russia may complete the cycle in some fairly near future. rate hikes, ”explains Susin.


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