Russian officials say the move is a last resort against the appreciating rouble, which Moscow fears may hit budget revenues and exports.

The rouble had plunged following sanctions over Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, but has since soared.
The rouble had plunged following sanctions over Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, but has since soared. (Reuters Archive)

Moscow could use excess energy revenues for foreign currency interventions to rein in the rouble, which has surged to a seven-year high.

Russia was "ready to sacrifice" part of its budget by using excess oil and gas revenue to intervene in the foreign currency market, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday.

"This should affect the exchange rate," he said, adding it was the measure of last resort.

Siluanov said the government would discuss the impact of the strong rouble on exporters next week.

"The exchange rate for exporters is now of fundamental importance," he added.

A strong rouble is not desirable for the Russian government, which fears it can hit budget revenues and exports.

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51 roubles to the dollar

Energy prices have soared since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

In recent weeks authorities have taken a number of measures to tame the rouble, which had plunged following sanctions over Russia's military intervention in Ukraine but has since soared.

After the West imposed the sanctions, financial authorities introduced strict capital controls to boost the economy.

Since then, the Russian currency has staged a spectacular rebound and is now at its strongest since 1985.

Authorities have loosened capital controls and the central bank has repeatedly cut its key interest rate, but the Russian currency continues to appreciate.

Russia's finance ministry said in May that domestic companies would have to sell 50 percent of their foreign currency export earnings, a reduction from 80 percent earlier.

The currency reached 51 roubles to the dollar on Wednesday.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies