For the first time, the Russians had more than $100 billion in cash in their hands
By early February 2023, Russian households held cash in foreign currency in the amount of 7.33 trillion rubles, or $ 105.4 billion, which is a record level in the history of available statistics of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, notes RBC. The level of USD 100 billion was reached in November 2022, but the Central Bank has rebounded only now, specifying the data “due to obtaining additional information on external sector statistics”.
Unrecorded growth in foreign exchange cash began to emerge in the second half of last year. From July 1 to December 1, 2022, the amount of currency in the hands of citizens increased by USD 4.3 billion, which is much more than USD 1.3 billion indicated in previous statistics.
Yegor Susin, managing director of Gazprombank Private Banking, explained the increase in cash among the population by the fact that imports of banknotes exceeded exports. “Perhaps some translations [за рубеж], according to the Bank of Russia, returned to the country in the form of foreign currency in cash. Theoretically, it is possible: transferring capital abroad, receiving currency there and importing it to Russia, ”he believes.
From the first days of the war in Ukraine, the Russian authorities introduced restrictions on the withdrawal of foreign currency from bank accounts. They were installed on March 9, 2022: then the Russians began massive withdrawals from their accounts, and the EU banned the import of euro cash into Russia. Two days later, the United States imposed an embargo on cash dollars.
Now, Russians can get up to $10,000 or the equivalent in euros if the funds were deposited before March 9, 2022. Citizens can also buy dollars and euros in cash, but only those that were deposited after April 9.
You can bring no more than $10,000 in cash into the country without filing a declaration. The Association of Banks of Russia proposes to raise this bar to $ 100,000.