MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank expects
the country's current account surplus to decline over the next
three years as imports rise, making the economy more vulnerable
to external shocks.
Russia's economy is heavily reliant on oil and gas exports,
making its trade balance sensitive to volatile international
The current account surplus has been shrinking in recent
years, as global demand deteriorated and Russia's oil production
stagnated due to the depletion of some fields. That surplus
stood at $32 billion in January to June.
With oil prices at around $101-$100 per barrel the surplus
is seen falling to $3-7 billion in 2016 from $25 billion in
2014, the bank said in a draft of its monetary policy plan for
the next three years
Strong oil prices, implying a stronger current account
surplus, have helped Russian assets escape the heavy selling
that has hit other emerging market assets as a result of
expectations of monetary tightening in the U.S.
The Economy Ministry sees the rouble weakening to 34.9
against the dollar on average in 2016 from 33.4 roubles in 2014,
on the back of a weaker current account.
Other figures show Russia's vulnerability to external shocks
has risen over the last five years, with total foreign currency
reserves in terms of months of imports they could cover falling
to 10 months in 2012, down from 12 in 2011 and 16 in 2007, World
Bank data shows.
The central bank sees its gold and forex reserves at $501
billion by the end of next year versus $500 billion in 2013.
Full 2014-2016 forecasts are presented on the central bank
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS FORECAST($bln)
Oil price 76 101 126 107
Current account 15 25 59 37
Capital account 0 0 0 -10
Financial account: reserve -45 -24 -19 -47
Reserves (year-end) 470 501 540 500
(Reporting by Maya Dyakina, editing by Jason Bush and Patrick
Keywords: RUSSIA CURRENT/
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