Russia’s foreign exchange reserves can now cover all of the debt owed by both the government and domestic businesses, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced.
“For the first time in history our reserves fully cover foreign debt, including government and commercial sector debt,” Putin said addressing the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday.
The country’s external debt amounts to $453.7 billion, while its international reserve funds stand at $475 billion as of February 8, 2019, according to infographics presented by the president.
Putin added that money allocated by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund also greatly contributes to the national budget, amounting to more than $1 billion last year.
The Russian president said he wants the national economy to grow more than 3 percent in 2021, with foreign investment in the country set to rise 6-7 percent. To reach such figures, the president set several tasks for the government, such as increased productivity, making Russia attractive to foreign companies, and improving regional infrastructure.
Russia’s external debt has fallen by $64.4 billion or 12.4 percent from the beginning of last year to the lowest level in a decade, the Central Bank of Russia announced in January. Moscow has reduced its foreign debt by $280 billion since mid-2014, when it reached a peak of nearly $733 billion due to the initial impact of Western sanctions.
Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign exchange reserves have been growing for three consecutive years, increasing 8.3 percent to over $468 billion in the beginning of this year.