Russia not considering capital controls: Economy minister

The Russian government is not considering strict capital control measures that could limit purchases of foreign currency, economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev (above) said after an emergency meeting over the rapidly sliding rouble. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The Russian government is not considering strict capital control measures that could limit purchases of foreign currency, economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev (above) said after an emergency meeting over the rapidly sliding rouble. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - The Russian government is not considering strict capital control measures to limit purchases of foreign currency, economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev said after an emergency meeting over the rapidly sliding rouble.

The subject “was not discussed” as a possible solution to the ongoing currency crisis, which saw the Russian rouble lose 20 per cent of its value in the course of a day, despite a massive rate hike by the central bank.

Ulyukayev said that the emergency meeting on the situation called by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resulted in “a list of measures that should help stabilise the situation.”

“Our actions will be directed at ensuring better balance of supply and demand on the domestic foreign exchange market,” he said.

Capping sales of foreign currency has been discussed over the past days as an increasingly likely step for the government to stop the rouble from collapsing after record losses this week, which saw rates soar to 80 against the dollar and 100 against the euro.

“The CBR needs to do something special to stabilise market sentiment,” Barclays said in a note Tuesday. “The ferocity of the RUB sell-off is such that it will need another ‘big-bang’ policy to take control of the ruble markets.”

Some forms of capital control could include forced sales of foreign currencies by Russian exporters, limits on bank withdrawals or purchases of foreign currency, it said.