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Russians keep savings in hard currency

MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - Most Russians prefer to keep their savings in hard currency, reported the online publication Gazeta.ru Monday.

Whatever happens to the U.S. dollar, it is still seen by Russians as the most reliable way to save.

The market research company, ROMIR Monitoring, reported that 59% of those surveyed said they preferred to keep their money in dollars, while only 19% of respondents preferred to keep their savings in rubles. About 20% of respondents believed that the best currency for savings is the euro. Until just recently the single European currency was something of a rarity in Russia.

"Human psychology is slow to change," said Diana Polunkova, an expert from the Banki.Ru information portal. "Russians have kept their savings in dollars for more than ten years, and the dollar has steadily increased in value throughout that time. It is only in the past two years that some Russians have started to save in euros instead. The most conservative people have not yet had time to be disappointed by the dollar, while the most adventurous people have already come to believe in the euro. This explains why most Russians save in dollars and euros."

"There is a lack of popular confidence in the ruble," says Ivan Manayenko, an analyst from Veles-Kapital. "Many people remember the 1998 crisis when within a few days the exchange rate crashed, from 6.5 rubles per $1 to 25 rubles per $1. Despite all the market shocks, the American and European currencies have never let Russians down as much as the ruble has, nor have they let the citizens of any other country down."

Of those surveyed, 25% keep their savings in Russian banks, and only 7% keep their money in foreign banks. Around 7% of respondents said that they would put their money into precious metals and jewelry, while 3% said they would invest in art and antiques. The poll also showed that 29% of respondents would not keep savings anywhere.

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