Pankin Says Funds to Go Abroad

LONDON -- Russia should keep investing its oil and gas revenues abroad rather than trying to use them to prop up domestic growth, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin said Monday.

The investment of the newly-created $32 billion national wealth fund is a big issue in Russia, with the finance ministry saying the money should stay abroad, but others, including President Vladimir Putin, have said at least a portion of it could be used at home.

"At the Finance Ministry ... we are sticking to a very careful approach. Now there are few reasons to talk about the need of investing this money inside the domestic economy," Pankin told the Russia Investment Roadshow in London, noting that investing money at home may only serve to further fuel inflationary pressures rather than helping growth.

Russia currently invests the oil wealth fund into safe-haven government bonds, but Pankin said investments in a broader range of instruments such as equities or corporate debt should be considered.