Russia to add Canadian dollar to reserves in coming months

Tue Dec 1, 2009 5:14am EST
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By Sujata Rao

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia plans to add the Canadian dollar to its $444 billion gold and forex reserves in the next few months, but its share will be insignificant, Russian central bank first deputy chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said on Tuesday.

"We are discussing this (adding the Canadian dollar). It will be in several months' time. Its share will be insignificant," Ulyukayev told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in London.

He added that the Canadian dollar's share would be smaller than that of the Japanese yen, which currently accounts for around 2 percent of Russia's reserves.

Russia said last week it was making technical preparations to add the Canadian dollar as part of its policy to diversify reserves, with the comments helping push the U.S. currency to its lowest in over a year.

On Tuesday, currencies showed little reaction to Ulyukayev, with the U.S. dollar holding around C$1.0460, down 0.9 percent on the day and little changed from before the comments.

As well as the yen, Russia's reserves -- the world's third-largest -- are made up of around 47 percent U.S. dollars, 41 percent euros and 10 percent sterling.

Russia already has the mechanism to invest reserves in Swiss francs, but the capacity of that market is limited.

Officials have previously also mooted the Australian dollar as a possible investment, but Ulyukayev said on Tuesday no decision had yet been taken on this.   Continued...