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Russia halves US dollar share in foreign exchange reserves: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Russian ruble coin is pictured with US dollar bills and a one dollar coin in Moscow, on August 23, 2018. (AFP photo)

A report shows Russia’s foreign currency reserves in the US dollar have been halved in a year as the country seeks to increase holdings in currencies other than the greenback to offset the impacts of the American sanctions.

The Thursday report on the website of the Russia-backed RT news channel said the share of the dollar in Russia’s international reserves had decreased to 23.6 percent in March 2019, down from 43.7 percent a year ago.

Citing data provided by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), the report said Moscow had decided to increase holdings in gold, China’s yuan and the euro amid Washington’s rising use of the greenback to pressure trade and economic relations in other parts of the world.

The CBR’s holdings in yuan had increased from 5 percent to 14.2 percent in the 12-month period, said the report, adding that euro reserves had surged 8.1 percent year-on-year to stand at 30.3 percent. Gold reserves also surged slightly, from 17.2 percent to 18.2 percent, it said.

The report said the data was published with a six-month delay mainly because the CBR feared earlier release could affect the markets and impact the bank’s forex policies.

The bank said the total value of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves had increased by $27.2 billion to reach $487.4 billion in March 2019 while it continued to grow until September 20 to top half a trillion dollar and stand at $532.6 billion.

The data comes as Russia has repeatedly declared it wants to cut its dependency on the US dollar amid sanctions imposed by Washington on Moscow’s trade relations with others.

Countries like Iran and China have also adopted a similar forex policy, as they keep ditching the greenback from many of their exchanges with other countries.

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