Russia to form $4bn fund to boost crisis-hit economy

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RUSSIA is forming a fund equivalent to about $4 billion to help its economy to bear the recent burdens associated with fallen oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin announced this said on Monday.

Oil, one of Russia’s major exports, has lost about a third of its value this month due to a slump in global demand for the commodity amid a general slump in the trade because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Russia’s ruble currency, which is strongly linked to oil prices, has lost more than a 10th of its value since the beginning of the month.

The fund of 300 billion rubles ($400.5 billion) is to “counter the coronavirus’s negative influence on the economy and on people’s lives,’’ Mishustin said in comments carried by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Russia is still largely dependent on commodity prices despite efforts to diversify its economy following an oil-linked collapse in the ruble’s value five years ago.

The Russian Central Bank announced last week that it would sell foreign currency reserves in an effort to prop up the ruble’s value.

Russia has also imposed strict regulations on foreigners seeking to enter the country, effectively closing its border with several countries, in an effort to stem the outbreak.

Those countries include China, where the virus is believed to have originated, and Belarus, with which Russia has its closest ties. (dpa/NAN)

– Mar. 16, 2020 @ 12:55 GMT |

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