Russians set record in buying dollar cash in July

Problems of Russian banks exerted rather negative influence on the situation in general

Russia's Central Bank published a regular report about the cash flow. According to the report, Russian people have set a record in currency purchase. In July Russians bought $6.9 billion, which became the absolute record ever.

Problems in the national bank sector incited the growth on the Russian currency market. However, the newspaper Kommersant wrote, it was not the only reason for such activity – July became the fifth month in a row, when the growing net import of currency was registered in Russia.

Russian top officials started talking about the inevitable strengthening of the ruble against the dollar in April. The investment situation in the country was worsening, however, due to external and internal reasons (from the Yukos scandal to quotations growth in the US), which eventually led to the outflow of capital. The stock market went down in April as well. Problems of Russian banks exerted more negative influence on the situation in general.

The Central Bank explains the growing demand with seasonal tourist needs and intensive discussion of the Russian banks' problems in press. In addition, bankers pay attention to the growing dollar rate.

The crisis caused damage not only to banks, but to travel agencies as well. According to the Central Bank, the Russian people bought such a large amount of foreign currency for foreign trips. However, spokespeople for Russian travel agencies complain of the poor income received from tour sales in the summer of 2004: “July and August were very bad months for the tourist business in 2004. We did not have such a bad situation even in 1999, which was the post-crisis year,” Mikhail Lapshin, the director of one of the travel agencies said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper. Lapshin believes that the negative situation on the tourist market has been caused with the banking crisis. “People can afford a tour, if they have some savings. When they heard about the banking problem, they recollected the default year of 1998, rushed to withdraw money from their accounts, but did not spend it,” Lapshin stated.

According to Central Bank's estimates, the balance of population's currency operations (the difference between purchase and sale) dropped in August to $1.9-2.2 billion, whereas the index was $3.3 billion in July.

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Author`s name Olga Savka