MOSCOW- Russia's finance ministry and central bank have agreed to spend 1.6 trillion roubles ($21.81 billion) from Russia's rainy-day fund on infrastructure projects between 2021 and 2024, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday.
The central bank has warned of inflationary risks if authorities spend too freely from the National Wealth Fund (NWF), which accumulates Russia's oil revenues and stood at $190.5 billion as of Sept. 1.
The central bank has said investment from the fund should not exceed 1 trillion roubles over three years but the government is keen to increase state spending to keep the economy growing despite interest rate hikes.
"We have agreed ... with the central bank that over four years we will allocate 1.6 trillion roubles of funds from the NWF for new projects, including this year," Siluanov told a financial conference in Moscow.
"Most of the resources will be used in the coming three years."
Though the number of projects may not rise along with the increase in spending, Sova Capital analysts said last week, it should benefit the rouble.
"We think the start of disbursements could support the rouble, as the Ministry of Finance would need to make fewer FX purchases in the years ahead, which could alleviate pressures from the currency market," they said.
Siluanov also said Russia was currently borrowing enough on the domestic market and, though it reserved the right to tap the Eurobond market, it had no need to now.
"We always look at the relationship between our borrowing conditions on the domestic and foreign markets, so as the situation unfolds, we will take a decision about whether or not going out to foreign markets is suitable," Siluanov said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov suggested Russia could borrow less than planned later this year thanks to higher budget revenues.
Despite various additional spending promises in the run-up to a parliamentary election this month, Russia is on course to run a budget surplus in 2021.
Siluanov said he expected Russia to run a slight budget surplus in 2022-2023 before recording a budget deficit in 2024.
($1 = 73.3510 roubles)
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Gareth Jones) ((Gabrielle.Tetrault-Farber@thomsonreuters.com;))