March 5, 2018 / 12:04 PM / a year ago

Russia's National Wealth Fund rises to $66.44 bln as of March 1

MOSCOW, March 5 (Reuters) - Russia’s National Wealth Fund, which is designed to help balance the pension system, rose to $66.44 billion as of March 1 from $66.26 billion as of February 1, the finance ministry said on Monday.

Earlier this year, the finance ministry said it had fully drained its Reserve Fund to plug holes in the budget by the end of 2017, ahead of switching to a new budget mechanism that would lower the dependence of the Russian economy on global oil prices.

The Finance Ministry buys dollars and other foreign currency for its reserves when Russia’s crude blend Urals URL-E trades above $40 per barrel, the level factored into the budget. The higher the oil price, the bigger the forex purchases will be.

On Monday, the ministry said it would decrease its daily purchases of foreign currency to the equivalent of 192.5 billion roubles ($3.37 billion) between March 7 and April 5, from 298.1 billion roubles purchased in the preceding period. ($1 = 57.0845 roubles) (Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya Editing by)

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