Russia has been reported to have a $45 billion stash of Chinese Yuan, capable of covering the country’s oil revenue losses in the next three years. The reserve is expected to help Moscow weather a massive plunge in its energy revenues as western sanctions squeeze harder.
The nation has leaned heavily on China in particular, and the Yuan is the only world currency that Russia can use in the foreign-exchange market after western sanctions cut off access to reserves of Dollars and Euros
According to an analysis by Bloomberg Economics yesterday, selling its Yuan reserves will help Russia cover its losses for the next three years.
In their own estimates, Citigroup says the reserves may cover losses for a slightly shorter period of about two and a half years.
Also Read: Is The Price Cap On Russia Oil Working?
Notwithstanding, analysts say the length of time the reserves will last will depend on the fluctuations of the price of Russian oil, which is one of Russia’s largest commodity exports.
Its flagship Urals crude blend is now trading around $50 a barrel – a third of what it was last year, Bloomberg reported. If Urals falls further to the $40-$50 range, Yuan sales per month may need to triple. If it falls to $25, Russia may sell its entire Yuan stash this year, observers say.
The situation may arise when the latest round of western sanctions, including the European Union ban on Russian oil and $60 price cap, which prevents Russia from using western shipping and insurance services to sell its crude unless it’s below the price level.
Economists warn that the measures have severe crimped Russia’s oil revenue, which could tumble the table on Russia revenue in the long-term.
Russia’s central bank called the oil price cap and EU ban “economic shocks” to its financial system, and the nation’s oil revenue fell $15 million in the last week of 2022 alone, with just a few buyers of Russian crude left.
The nation’s budget deficit also hit a new record of 3.9 trillion rubles, or $56 billion in December. If it keeps spending at this level, Urals crude would need to be sold at $90 a barrel this year, or nearly double the current price, in order to breakeven, Bloomberg estimated.
President Putin continues to boast of his country’s resilient economy, insisting that it would expand partnerships with allies like China and India to make up for lost trade.