Posted 14 февраля 2023,, 11:14

Published 14 февраля 2023,, 11:14

Modified 14 февраля 2023,, 11:41

Updated 14 февраля 2023,, 11:41

Figure of the day: in a year, Russians have withdrawn more than 4 trillion to foreign deposits

Figure of the day: in a year, Russians have withdrawn more than 4 trillion to foreign deposits

14 февраля 2023, 11:14
Unprecedented: in 2022, the deposits of Russians abroad have tripled. If as of January 1, 2022, the deposits of Russians in non-resident banks amounted to 2.27 trillion rubles, then by January 1, 2023, the amount increased to 6.63 trillion rubles, or up to 94.3 billion dollars.

Yekaterina Maximova

Accordingly, since the beginning of the SMO, Russian citizens have replenished foreign deposits by more than 4 trillion rubles (or $ 63 billion).

Such data follow from the monthly Central Bank analytics (operations of the "Households" sector).

The regulator has been conducting similar statistics since 2018. And from that moment on, no such indicators were recorded. For comparison: as of January 1, 2021, Russians placed 1.86 trillion rubles on foreign deposits. By the end of the year, the indicator had changed to 2.27 trillion rubles, that is, for the whole of 2021, the increase in the volume of funds of Russians in non-resident banks amounted to 410 billion rubles (against more than 4 trillion by the end of 2022).

At the same time, citizens of the country have reduced their foreign currency deposits in Russia by almost 40% over the year - up to 4 trillion rubles.

The numbers, of course, are not related, but to understand the scale: the equity capital of the largest bank of Russia - Sberbank - is 5.1 trillion rubles.

Viktor Nemikhin, an independent investment adviser, notes that in fact, the Russians have taken much larger sums out of the country.

"The data published by the Central Bank are only those figures that are visible to the regulator, that is, they are either transfers or the declaration of accounts in foreign banks. In addition, if a person has been outside the territory of the Russian Federation for more than 153 days, he has the right not to declare. And if it was taken out in cash across the border, then this is also not tracked in any way. Therefore, the figure, of course, is much larger," said financial analyst Nemikhin.

According to him, more than 4 trillion rubles withdrawn over the year did not become a serious problem for the country's banking system.

"If people had not withdrawn funds, these amounts would have been under the pillow or in foreign currency accounts in Russian banks. And if before February Russian banks could do something with this currency, now they can't do anything with it. Moreover, these amounts are toxic for banks now. It is difficult to call it a blessing, of course, but it does not bring any significant damage either. The only drawback: until February 2022, this money could work inside the country, but now it does not work inside Russia, it works outside our state. Only this is a minus", - says Viktor Nemikhin.

Maxim Shein, Chief Investment Strategist at BCS, reminds that Russian banks need foreign currency deposits from the population or legal entities only in one case: if a financial and credit organization can place this money somewhere. For example, to issue a dollar loan or place it in securities denominated in foreign currency. And now these are far from the most working tools for the banking sector.

Strategy Director of Finam JSC Yaroslav Kabakov believes that such a capital drain through deposits of individuals - 94 billion dollars, is associated with many aspects of the Russian economy. And this is not only an unprecedented outflow of population from the country, but also a fairly large dependence of Russians on imports.

"For example, foreign dealers have stopped supplying the same cars and Russian individuals have reached out to foreign sites. They import new or beushnye cars themselves. That is, we are talking not only about emigration of the population, but also attempts to do business, the development of parallel imports. We will get a clearer picture of the outflow of funds after the first half of 2023. In the spring of this year, we will still see a surge in outflow against the background of geopolitical events, but basically, I think this story has already exhausted itself", - Yaroslav Kabakov said.

As Viktor Nemikhin added: "Exporting your savings outside the country is a decision of a particular person. The citizen himself decides whether to leave him money in dollars, euros or Kazakhstani tenge.  Now, if the state or banks interfered with a person's decision and said: no, you should keep only in rubles, not in dollars, that would be a greater evil".