Russia eases restrictions on transferring money abroad

Russia’s central bank said today that it is easing restrictions on transfers of foreign funds to individuals for a period of six months.

The bank said the measures, which increase a previous limit on funds that can be transferred abroad, do not apply to residents and non-residents of countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

“Within one month, individuals are entitled to transfer no more than 10,000 US dollars or the equivalent in another currency from the Russian Federation from their account with a Russian bank to their account or to another person abroad,” said the bank in a statement.

The bank added that transfers abroad from bank accounts of non-residents, individuals or legal entities from countries that have imposed sanctions are suspended for the next six months.

The move will ease pressure on Russians who regularly send funds to relatives abroad or to those who have left the country and are left without access to their funds at home.

“From an economic point of view, this is a first and still very cautious step towards easing restrictions on capital movement,” said Dmitry Polevoy, an analyst at Moscow-based brokerage Loko-Invest.

“The choice of (withdrawing some restrictions) for individuals is also understandable…the risks to financial stability are lower.”

Last month, the central bank said it was temporarily suspending transfers by foreign corporations and individuals from various countries to overseas accounts. It also limited transfers to the equivalent of no more than $5,000 per month.

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