Russian nationals transferred over $30 billion abroad from January to September 2022 – an absolute record in the history of the statistic compiled by the Bank of Russia, state-owned media outlet RIA Novosti reported,quoting data from the regulator.
The peak remittance value was recorded in September, coming in at $6.7 billion. Analysts have attributed the surge to the announcement of President Vladimir Putin’s “partial” mobilization and a new wave of emigration from Russia. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russians have significantly increased withdrawals of funds abroad. In February alone, about $4.3 billion was withdrawn from the country – this figure later dropped sharply, but only due to the currency restrictions imposed by the central bank (a ban on withdrawals of more than $5 thousand per month and a ban on cash withdrawals, among others).
The regulator’s tough measures were able to temporarily curb the outflow of funds from Russia: in March, Russian nationals transferred only $1.7 billion to foreign bank accounts, while in April the figure decreased further still, coming in at $1.4 billion. May, however, saw the volume of funds growing again, totaling $1.7 billion. A sharp surge of currency withdrawals was triggered by the Central Bank loosening its restrictions – foreign bank accounts received $5.2 billion in remittances in June.
In July, Russia’s Central Bank allowed its citizens to withdraw $1 million per month, and as a result, the monthly outflow grew to $5.6 mln. In August, currency remittances decreased to $5.4 bln. The regulator has not yet provided any data on October.
At the beginning of 2022, Russians had only $30.6 billion in foreign banks, according to the Central Bank’s statistics. Thus, in less than a year, Russian citizens have more than douvled that amount: in September, there were $63.1 billion in deposits abroad. These figures do not include the transfers of funds which were not deposited in foreign banks. If they are taken into account, the outflow of individuals’ funds may be much higher.