By Ben Aris
BNE Intellinews, Berlin
Russia’s gross international reserves, including gold, continue to creep upwards and reached $487.1 billion as of March 22 — enough to cover Russia’s external debt dollar for dollar in cash.
In February during his state of the nation speech President Vladimir Putin boasted that for the first time Russia has enough money in its reserves to cover all its external debt with cash.
At the end of the last quarter of 2018 Russia had an external debt of $453.7 billion and the debt has been falling steadily over the 12 months as the government makes use of the windfall from rising oil prices and falling expenditures to pay off more debt early.
Russia already had one of the lowest levels of debt of any major country. While most western countries have debt-to-GDP ratios well above the Maastricht rules-recommended maximum of 60 percent (and some like Italy are well over 100 percent), Russia’s debt-to-GDP ratio has been hovering around 15 percent for years. …
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