Russia seen increasing FX selling to help rouble in upcoming month - survey

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s finance ministry is expected to increase its sales of foreign currency from state reserves to the equivalent of $1.1 billion in the upcoming month, a Reuters survey showed on Friday.

The finance ministry is set to announce on Monday its selling plan for the period from Oct. 7 to Nov. 6.

The median forecast from a survey of seven analysts suggested Russia would sell 86 billion roubles worth of foreign currency from its state reserves in regular operations under its fiscal rule.

Individual forecasts ranged from 40 to 110 billion roubles.

On a daily basis, the central bank will sell 3.9 billion roubles in regular operations in October on behalf of the finance ministry, according to Reuters calculations.

The central bank is set to sell another 2.9 billion roubles a day related to the state-run deal to change the main shareholder in Russia's largest lender Sberbank SBER.MM.   

In the previous period, between Sept. 7 to Oct. 6, the ministry had planned to sell 54 billion roubles.

State FX sales have helped the rouble weather volatility on global financial markets since March, limiting losses in the Russian currency amid a slump in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, it has lost around 20% of its value against the dollar so far this year.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Kim Coghill