Rus­sia says will ditch US se­cu­ri­ties amid sanctions

Kuwait Times - - Business -

MOSCOW: Rus­sia will fur­ther de­crease its hold­ings of US se­cu­ri­ties in re­sponse to new sanctions against Moscow but has no plans to shut down US com­pa­nies in Rus­sia, Fi­nance Min­is­ter An­ton Silu­anov said on state TV yes­ter­day, RIA news agency re­ported.

On Fri­day, Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev said Rus­sia would re­gard any US move to curb the ac­tiv­i­ties of its banks as a “dec­la­ra­tion of eco­nomic war” and would take re­tal­ia­tory ac­tion.

Wash­ing­ton said on Wed­nes­day it would im­pose fresh sanctions by the end of August af­ter it de­ter­mined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Rus­sian agent and his daugh­ter in Bri­tain, send­ing Rus­sia’s ru­ble cur­rency to a twoyear low. Speak­ing on a weekly TV talk show, Silu­anov said the new US sanctions, some of which could re­strict pur­chases of Rus­sian gov­ern­ment bonds, were “un­pleas­ant but not fatal”. “We have low­ered to the min­i­mum level and will fur­ther de­crease our in­vest­ment in the US econ­omy, in the US se­cu­ri­ties,” Silu­anov said, shed­ding light on the na­ture of an un­ex­pected drop in Rus­sia’s hold­ings of U.S. Trea­sury bonds.

Rus­sia has ditched its hold­ings of US Trea­suries in the past few months as re­la­tions be­tween Moscow and Wash­ing­ton have de­te­ri­o­rated, data showed last month.

Rus­sia will also have more set­tle­ment in rubles and other cur­ren­cies, such as the euro, than in dol­lars, Silu­anov said. “Even­tu­ally, this will neg­a­tively im­pact US in­vestors. But we are not plan­ning now any lim­i­ta­tions such as shut­ting down McDon­alds,” Silu­anov said. He re­ferred to calls by some law­mak­ers to shut down prom­i­nent US com­pa­nies in Rus­sia start­ing from 2014, when re­la­tions with the West soured over Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea and its role in Ukraine’s cri­sis.

“Our cit­i­zens work in th­ese com­pa­nies, th­ese com­pa­nies pay taxes into the bud­get of our coun­try,” Silu­anov said. While ad­mit­ting that US sanctions would boost in­fla­tion in Rus­sia as they hurt the ru­ble, Silu­anov said there were no plans to ban us­ing the dol­lar in Rus­sia. “Of course, the gov­ern­ment has no such plans. That would be a step to an im­passe.” —

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