Russia's rainy day fund drops 10 pct in dollar terms in Feb as state tries to support budget

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MOSCOW — Russia's finance ministry says the country's foreign currency reserves dropped by almost 10 percent in dollar terms in February after the government sought to fill a hole in the state budget, where revenues have suffered due to low oil prices.

The fund, which is used to support Russia in time of low oil and gas prices and is held in dollars, euros and British pounds, fell from $85.09 billion to $77.05 billion, the ministry said. The fall in ruble terms was sharper, almost 20 percent, since the ruble gained ground against the dollar and other currencies during February.

Last month, the government used 500 billion rubles ($8 billion) from the fund to support the budget. Cuts of 10 percent are planned to most areas of government spending.

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