MOSCOW, AP – Russia says it will completely remove the US dollar from its rainy day fund, a move intended to counter US pressure two weeks before a summit of the two countries’ leaders.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told an economic forum in St Petersburg that the National Wealth Fund will turn its US-dollar-denominated assets into euros, yuan and gold.
He said the shift will take a month, and once it is completed the fund will have 40 per cent of its holdings in euros, 30 per cent in yuan and 20 per cent in gold while the British pound and Japanese yen each will account for 5 per cent.
Siluanov said the fund currently has 35 per cent of its assets in US dollars and another 35 per cent in euros.
The fund accumulates oil revenues to increase the country’s resilience to market fluctuations and help support major projects.
It held about $US186 billion ($A243 billion)-worth of total assets as of last month, part of the country’s gold and hard currency reserves that stand at the equivalent of about $US600 billion overall.
The announcement comes just two weeks before a scheduled summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden.
They are set to meet in Geneva on June 16.
Russia has moved to reduce the US dollar’s share in its hard currency reserves as it has faced waves of US sanctions amid tensions.
Asked about the latest announcement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that many countries, including Russia, have sought to ease their dependence on the US dollar amid growing “concerns about the reliability of the main reserve currency”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the St Petersburg forum, Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said the decision to cut the US dollar holdings was linked to “threats of sanctions that we have received from the US leadership”.