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Russian foreign currency reserves rise to record $304.6 bln

Russia's foreign currency and gold reserves rose for a third week to a record, boosted by revenue from oil sales, as the country heads for a ninth year of economic growth.

The reserves, the world's third biggest, rose to a record $304.6 billion, rising $800 million in the week ended February 2, the central bank said in an e-mailed statement today. The reserves rose $1.1 billion the previous week. Russia, the world's biggest energy exporter, has benefited from an oil price boom that underpinned economic growth and helped swell its foreign currency reserves from $12 billion in 1998. Oil prices reached a record $78.40 a barrel on July 14. Crude oil for March delivery was at $58.03 a barrel, up 32 cents, in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:23 p.m. in Singapore today. China has the world's biggest foreign currency reserves, totaling $1.07 trillion as of the end of last year, according to Bloomberg data. Japan has the second-largest, totaling $874.60 billion as of December 31. The nation's economy, boosted by an oil-price boom, grew 6.7% last year. Russia's so-called Stabilization Fund, in which it stores excess revenue from oil that's priced above $27 a barrel, surged to about $100 billion at the end of January. (Bloomberg)