Russia to cut share of U.S. dollar in National Wealth Fund

Russia will reduce the share of the U.S. dollar in its National Wealth Fund and is considering investing in other foreign currencies including the Chinese yuan, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev said on Wednesday.

The changes to the structure of the National Wealth Fund, which is part of Russia’s sovereign reserves, will come into effect next year, he said.

“I can say with certainty that the U.S. dollar share will be smaller,” Kolychev told reporters. “Different currencies are being considered… including the yuan.”

Russia has stepped up what it calls a de-dollarisation process to reduce its dependence on the greenback when Western countries began imposing sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Kolychev said the move was in part meant to shield Russian reserves from external risks, but did not give any indication how drastically the U.S. dollar share of the National Wealth Fund would be cut.

“Geopolitical risks are one of the key factors in determining the structure of the National Wealth Fund,” he said.

Kolychev added that the finance ministry was trying to bring the structure of the National Wealth Fund closer to that of the central bank’s foreign currency reserves, where euros account for a larger share than the dollar.

The National Wealth Fund had $45.5 billion U.S. dollars, 39.17 billion euros and 7.67 billion pounds as of the end of September, according to data from the finance ministry.