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13 Aug, 2018 09:55

Russia to sell off more US Treasuries in retaliation against sanctions

Russia to sell off more US Treasuries in retaliation against sanctions

Moscow will continue selling off its holdings of US Treasury securities in response to the new penalties Washington is ready to introduce against Russia in the near future, according to Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

The minister added that the government will stick to the plan of moving away from the US dollar for international trade, as it recently proved to be a “risky” payment method.

“I do not rule it out,” Siluanov said in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV channel. “We have significantly reduced our investment in US assets. In fact, the dollar, which is considered to be the international currency, becomes a risky tool for payments.”

In 2010, Russia was among the top-10 holders of US debt at over $176 billion. With several rounds of US sanctions targeting Russia since 2014, Moscow began selling off its holdings to below $100 billion by October 2017.

Over the recent months the Central Bank of Russia dumped 84 percent of its remaining holdings of US Treasury securities due to concerns about a wide range of risks, including financial, economic and geopolitical. The country’s holdings declined from $96.1 billion in March to just $14.9 billion in May.

The minister added that the Kremlin has no plans to target US companies currently working in Russia. “We do not plan at the moment any restrictions, closures, for example, take and shut down McDonald's: these companies employ our citizens,” he told the media.

Last week, the US State Department announced plans to impose new sanctions against Russia over the country’s alleged involvement in the Skripal case. Earlier this year, London accused Moscow of poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury. Russia has denied the accusation and has repeatedly called for an objective international investigation into the case.

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