The share of remittances in Russian currencies is growing rapidly
Statistical data from the Central Bank shows that the growth in ruble remittances from migrants over the past two years is a record, with an increase of 5.5% in 2015.
In the first quarter of 2016, the volume of international money transfers in rubles increased by 50 percent, mainly due to the devaluation of CIS currencies against the dollar, analysts said. In 2015, the Russian ruble fell against the US currency less than, for example, the Armenian dram or the Tajik somoni.
In January-April 2016, the volume of ruble transfers abroad from non-residents reached 30.3 billion rubles ($ 4.7 million) – an increase of almost 50% over the same period last year – according to statements of Russian banks, published by the Central Bank.
Foreign currency transfers from non-residents, on the contrary, decreased during the year – by 7.8% to 35.9 billion rubles ($ 545 million). As a result, over 12 months, the share of ruble remittances transferred abroad by migrants increased from 34.3 to 45.8%.
Statistical data from the Central Bank show that the growth of ruble remittances from migrants over the past two years is a record, with an increase of 5.5% in 2015. At the same time, remittances from non- residents continued to decline. In 2015, the drop in remittances was even greater than in 2016, representing 13.7%.
The total amount of international remittances by migrants (both in rubles and in foreign currency) increased by 11.9% to reach 66.2 billion rubles ($ 1 billion) in 2016. Last year, this figure fell 8% to 59.1 billion rubles.
The main reason for the reduction in foreign currency remittances is the increase in currency conversion costs due to the devaluation of the local currencies of the CIS countries, all of which fell against the dollar in 2015.
Direct exchange operations (rubles in local currencies) have become more advantageous for migrants than conversion operations (rubles in dollars, dollars in national currencies). As a result, migrants send money home in the currency in which they earn.
Central banks aim to strengthen local currencies
The behavior of migrants has not been influenced even by the actions of the central banks of some CIS countries aimed at strengthening their national currencies. For example, in February 2016, the National Bank of Tajikistan banned local banks from making money transfers in rubles, allowing them to do so only in Tajik somoni.
This requirement of the Tajik regulator does not apply to remittances in dollars and euros, but given the devaluation of the somoni, it is even more profitable for Tajiks to send money transfers in rubles and receive them in their home. own currency.
But Pavel Sigal, the first vice-president of the Support of Russia entrepreneurs association, is convinced that the growth in ruble remittances from migrants is linked to another factor.
“Most of the migrants in Russia are from the Eurasian Union and the CIS countries – Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and a few others,” Sigal emphasizes. “Trade turnover between these countries and Russia is increasing every year, at least in ruble equivalent.”
Russia’s trade and industrial partners in these countries need more and more rubles. This trend will continue if Russia succeeds in pushing forward the plan to use the ruble as a unit of account in mutual exchanges.
Maxim Osadchy, head of the analytics department at BKF Bank, expects the amount of ruble transfers to exceed the amount of foreign currency transfers in 2016.
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