COVID-19 Had Russians Withdrawing $13.6B in March, Fearing Banks Would Shut Down
While the entire world was panicking that there wouldn’t be enough toilet paper for the coronavirus lockdown, Russians were more interested in piling up on cash.
According to a report released by BNN Bloomberg, banks and ATMs in Russia issued around 1 trillion rubles ($13.6 billion), which is more than was withdrawn for the entire last year, in March this year only. Denis Poryvay, a Raiffeisen bank analyst from Moscow, said:
“People were afraid that banks will be unavailable during the quarantine. They withdrew money for the same reason as people hoarded food.”
More Withdrawals after President Putin’s TV Briefings
Daily cash withdrawals were higher after President Vladimir Putin held his regular TV briefings in which he detailed what measures need to be taken for the global pandemic to be addressed as efficiently as possible within Russia. Even more withdrawals were reported after the President announced the tax on bank deposits of more than 1 million rubles, and especially after the self-isolation measures were extended until May at least.
The US Also Had More Cash Withdrawals
The US has also seen an increase in cash withdrawals during the crisis. Reports from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis say that at the end of March, the US dollar had its largest increase in percentage since the coronavirus started to wreak havoc into the world. As far as the spread of the disease in Russia goes, Moscow Times says this is continuing to grow.
Until now, there have been 47,121 cases reported and 405 deaths in the country. While holding cash can spread the virus, it seems people still prefer it to having their money in the bank or holding digital currency. In the meantime, some voices in the crypto space are sure the world will have to move to digital money as a result of the pandemic. Retailers said the demand for basic groceries has increased in mid-March too.