Russians are increasingly saving money in rubles rather than dollars, despite the declining relative value of the domestic currency, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Friday.

The value of the ruble has fallen substantially since late last year and reached a historic low against the euro on February 19 of more than 49 rubles. It also fell to more than 35 to the dollar, its lowest rate since the financial crisis of 2009.

The slumping exchange rate prompted claims that people would switch their savings into foreign currency rather than rubles. But officials urged the public to continue to hold their savings in rubles, the currency they earn and spend, arguing that they could lose more money by exchanging it.

Siluanov told a meeting of investors in Hong Kong on Friday that “the level of dollarization in the [Russian] economy has lowered.”

“More and more, the ruble is becoming the currency of savings and transactions within the country. The amount of foreign currency debt is very small,” he said.