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Tag Archive for Finance

Safe-Deposit Box Craze Lays Bare Ukraine Woes After Vote

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – October 29, 2014) Wary of banks and alarmed by armed conflict around her parents’ town, Daria Demianenko joined Ukraine’s rush to an old-fashioned way of squirreling away cash. More commonly known as a home for fancy jewels and ill-gotten gains, safe-deposit boxes are swallowing a growing chunk of

Blowing $24 Billion on Ruble Spurs Free-Float Bet

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – October 29, 2014) The ruble’s persistent weakening in the face of $24 billion of interventions is stoking speculation the Bank of Russia will accelerate its switch to a free float. The currency fell to a record for a sixth day today, losing 0.6 percent to 42.7410 per dollar

Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

RIA Novosti: Putin Limits Foreign Capital’s Participation in Russian Media: Government

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MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law reducing the possible share of foreign stockholders in the Russian media to 20 percent, says the corresponding document published on the Russian government’s official legal information web portal Wednesday. “Unless otherwise stipulated by an international treaty … a Russian legal entity

Russians Lose Faith in Banks as Ruble Falls and Sanctions Bite

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 16, 2014) Consumer confidence in Russia’s financial system is falling, with half of Russians saying they don’t trust banks and are using such services less, in a troubling signal for a system under pressure from Western sanctions and more sensitive than ever to outflows of depositors,

Russia Can’t Be Blackmailed Over Ukraine, Putin Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – October 15, 2014) It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview. Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming

Gref: Central Bank ruble policy ‘optimal’

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s ruble exchange rate policy is “optimal,” Sberbank of Russia (MOEX: SBER) President and CEO German Gref said. “The policy that the Central Bank is pursuing is, in my view, optimal from the standpoint of managing the exchange rate. The economy is self-tuning, because the processes

Fears of a Russian credit crunch greatly exaggerated, say analysts

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) On paper, Russian companies have huge foreign debts, and no way of refinancing them because sanctions effectively close Western capital markets to Russian borrowers. But with much of Russian corporate foreign debt in fact hidden equity investments from offshore zones, the figures seem much worse than

Russia signs raft of deals with China

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 14, 2014) Russia and China signed a raft of 40 agreements encompassing trade, energy, finance and technology, following a meeting between Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, on October 14 in Moscow. The agreements demonstrate how Russia is looking for other options, after

Russia Can’t Escape Historical Retrospection in Crisis

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(Blooomberg – bloomberg.com – Ye Xie and Elena Popina – October 9, 2014) As Russia starts burning through foreign reserves in a bid to defend the ruble, flashbacks to the country’s 1998 devaluation and default are inevitable. While the government is in a much stronger position today to fend off the crisis than it was

RIA Novosti: Russia Needs to Create Domestic Credit System to Survive Sanctions: Presidential Aide

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russia needs to establish a system of domestic credit and improve the efficiency of public administration, so that the economy could successfully develop amid Western sanctions, Russian Presidential Aide Sergei Glazyev said Tuesday. “If we want to survive the war that is being waged against Russia, we need to

Moscow Times: Who Is Benefiting From West-Russia Sanctions War?

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 6, 2014) The recent Western sanctions, the harshest in decades, are meant to stun Russia’s economy. But one person’s loss is another one’s gain – and this is also true for companies and countries in a globalized world. Following the U.S.’s example, the European Union last

Ukraine update

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – July 24, 2014) What is now clear on the ground is that Ukraine is at war, and with significant casualties suffered now by both sides on a daily basis – tens of lives lost almost daily now. The conflict is also causing very significant

Russia’s capital flight hits 75 billion dollars

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(Interfax – Moscow, July 9, 2014) According to an assessment by the Central Bank of Russia, the net export of capital by banks and companies from the Russian Federation in the first half of 2014 was 74.6bn dollars. That is 120 per cent higher than in the first half of 2013 (33.7bn dollars), the Bank

RIA Novosti: Ukrainian Crisis Harmless for Russian Financial System – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – The consequences for the Russian financial system if the crisis in Ukraine further escalates will be limited, according to a review of financial stability conducted by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. “The possible direct consequences for

How Bulgaria’s Bank Run Affects Ukraine’s European Dream

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ian Wishart, Elizabeth Konstantinova – July 3, 2014) Joining the European Union was meant to give Bulgaria a fresh start. Try telling that to Anna Dimitrova. “Bulgaria didn’t gain from the EU as much as it could have, because it’s mismanaged by corrupt politicians,” said Dimitrova, a law student, in central

Why Putin Is in Trouble With 86% Approval

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com –  Evgenia Pismennaya, Henry Meyer, Brad Cook – June 27, 2014) One month he wins the Olympics and kudos from world leaders. The next he grabs Crimea and gets kicked out of their most exclusive club. Now he’s facing a recession with few tools to fight it save the public’s love. Even

Corporate bondholders fret as oligarchs suffer under Ukraine crisis

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nick Kochan in London – June 20,2014) Ukraine’s security crisis is hitting bond investors in some of the country’s largest companies. A combination of the deteriorating economic situation, falling currency, increased Russian import duties on Ukrainian goods and rising gas prices has meant big local firms are struggling to

Russians Paying Up to Turn Rubles Into Homes: Mortgages

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Lyubov Pronina – June 4, 2014) Denis Ichetkin’s decision to get a mortgage for a one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Moscow in late January couldn’t have been better timed, he said. The 30-year-old journalist and his wife Veronika secured a 15-year loan from VTB Group with a 12 percent interest

Russia-China gas deal spells trouble for the dollar

China Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – INVISIBLE HAND – Liam Halligan in London, Editor-at-Large of BNE – May 28, 2014) The St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), now in its 18th year, was less well attended than usual. The absence of various US and Western Europe CEOs, responding to pressure from their governments following sanctions

Interfax: Visa, MasterCard to continue operating in Russia – Siluanov

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

(Interfax – May 20, 2014) The payment systems Visa and MasterCard will continue operating in Russia, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Interfax on Tuesday. “We can’t abandon these systems since over 90 percent of those who use payment systems work with them,” he said. He did not say how the problem would be resolved with

Medvedev Orders Bank Chiefs to Reveal Personal Assets in Corruption Battle

VTB Bank Facade file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 13, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the heads of Russia’s two largest banks – state-owned Sberbank and VTB – to report their income, expenses and assets as part of an annual anti-corruption checkup. Sberbank’s German Gref, a former economic development minister, and VTB’s Andrei Kostin were among

Visa and MasterCard Cling to Russia Despite $3.8 Billion Blow

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Diana Kulchitskaya – May 7, 2014) Visa and MasterCard will hold fast to Russia despite a new law that forces them to pay over $3.8 billion as a security deposit to the Central Bank. Both international firms consider the measures taken as too severe and think that they will not

U.S. Drip of Sanctions Risks Putin Backlash

Portion U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Ilya Arkhipov and Kasia Klimasinska – April 29, 2014) The latest U.S. penalties against Vladimir Putin’s inner circle may provoke the Russian president into escalating the Ukraine crisis without crippling key sectors of his nation’s economy. The sanctions imposed by the Obama administration yesterday on seven officials and

Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail to Putin Circle

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik – April 28, 2014) Outside a Moscow stadium one night in 2006, deputy central bank chief Andrei Kozlov was walking to his car after playing soccer when two men opened fire, pumping bullets into his head and neck and killing his driver. Days before the murders, the

RIA Novosti: Proportion of ‘Grey Capital’ Outflow from Russia Reached 20%-40% in 2012-2013 – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – The proportion of “grey capital” outflow from Russia in 2012-2013 reached 20 percent to 40 percent, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday during his annual report in the country’s lower house of parliament. “One of the forms of outflow comes from those who are looking for more attractive

Capital Flight From Russia Expected to Reach $70-80B

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MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Finance Ministry has forecast this year’s capital outflow from Russia as reaching $70-80 billion, the director of long-term planning at the ministry said Monday. “We are certain that it won’t jump to $100 billion this year. A more reasonable estimate would be around $70-80 billion,” Maxim Oreshkin

RIA Novosti: Medvedev Says Russian Financial System Reliable

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s financial sector is reliable and under control, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during a meeting with finance officials Tuesday. “We are in a very uneasy situation indeed, that’s why we need to make some allowances … but they are not supposed to be fundamental. On the whole,

RIA Novosti: Capital Outflow from Russia Due to Ruble Rate, Not Crimea

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BERLIN, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – The outflow of capital from Russia is not tied to events in Ukraine, but to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the ruble, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Thursday. “The outflow of capital is not mainly tied to Crimea, the outflow, of course, is connected with

Russian Economic Ministry revises capital outflow forecast up to $100 bln for 2014

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MOSCOW. April 9 (Interfax) – Russia’s Economic Development Ministry has increased its capital outflow forecast for this year to $100 billion from the previous $25 billion, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said at a Tuesday evening briefing in Moscow. The outflow forecast for next year in the conservative scenario is increased to $50, in

RIA Novosti: Geopolitics Poses Risks to Russian Financial Stability – Bank of Russia

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) – A review of ratings of Russian borrowers and the threat of their exclusion from international capital markets may affect Russia’s financial stability, the head of the Central Bank of Russia said Wednesday. “The geopolitical risks are large, especially if our banks and companies run into limitations on refinancing in

Soft war – when finance becomes continuation of politics by other means

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – PERSPECTIVE – Roland Nash of Verno Investment Research – March 27, 2014) As the conflict between Russia and the West for influence in Ukraine unfolded, finance has found itself in the unfortunate position of sitting squarely in the front line. From the acceptance by Viktor Yanukovych of a $15bn

Interfax: Russian rouble “the most sanction-proof currency” – Central Bank official

Russian Central Bank file photo

Moscow, 26 March: The rouble is a sanction-proof currency, the first deputy head of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, Kseniya Yudayeva, has said at a conference in the State Duma. “The rouble is the most sanction-proof currency,” she said without specifying the currencies compared to which the rouble is the most sanction-proof. “We

Ruble Strengthens on Finance Minister’s Comments

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MOSCOW, March 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov gave a boost to the ruble Tuesday by raising expectations the Russian currency would strengthen once the current foreign and domestic economic situations stabilize. The ruble strengthened by 46 kopecks (1.3 percent) against the dollar and by 76 kopecks (1.5 percent) against the euro

Kudrin on sanctions: Western banks already closing credit lines to Russian corporate sector

Alexei Kudrin file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. March 13 (Interfax) – Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin is apprehensive about possible Western sanctions against Russia and said limitations in the banking sector have already begun. “I can say quite definitely: credit line limits for Russia are being closed,” said Kudrin, who is currently a member of the Presidential Economic Council.

Russia and Ukraine Have Bigger Problems Than Each Other

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew C. Klein – March 3, 2014) Matthew C. Klein is a writer for Bloomberg View You may have missed it amid the ongoing drama in Ukraine, but Russia’s central bank raised its main interest rate today to 7 percent from 5.5 percent — the single biggest increase in Russian benchmark

Putin Adviser Urges Dumping US Bonds In Reaction to Sanctions

U.S. Treasury HH Series Savings Bond file photo

MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) – An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that authorities would issue general advice to dump US government bonds in the event of Russian companies and individuals being targeted by sanctions over events in Ukraine. Sergei Glazyev said the United States would be the first to suffer in

Russian ruble reaches 5-year low

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Kira Egorova, Anna Sorokina, RBTH – February 19, 2014) On Wednesday morning, the ruble slid to a five-year low against the dollar on trading in the Moscow Exchange. Experts have tried to reassure investors arguing, that the ruble will gain ground soon The Euro also reached an all-time

$2 Billion in Russian Aid Fails to Help Ukrainian Currency

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 18, 2014) Russia’s promise to release the next payment of a promised $15 billion loan to the government of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych failed to help the country’s hryvnia currency, which fell by up to 1.6 percent against the dollar on Tuesday. Monday’s announcement by Finance

Banks Scramble for Clients as Mortgage Lending Takes Off

sberbank

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – February 18, 2014) Mortgage lending is soaring as banks lower their rates, carrying with it both the benefits and potential drawbacks of a mortgage-greedy banking system. Until recently, Russian banks and consumers alike were skeptical of mortgages, and the rapidly escalating price of real estate did not

NEWSLINK: Russia holds rate, warns of rises if inflation accelerates

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["Russia holds rate, warns of rises if inflation accelerates" - CentralBankNews.info -  February 14, 2014 - http://www.centralbanknews.info/2014/02/russia-holds-rate-warns-of-rises-if.html] CentralBankNews.info covers Russia’s Central Bank and its decision to maintain its key policy rate at 5.50 per cent.  The Central Bank cautions that it could raise rates if inflation exceeds the bank’s target, but asserts an expectation that

Russia moving away from rate control to manage declining ruble

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(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Nathan Gray – January 28, 2014) The rapidly depreciating ruble recovered slightly on Tuesday, after recording a five-year low against the euro of 47.50 on Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, the Central Bank indicated a rate of 47.37 against the euro, and 40.36 against the weighted currency basket of dollars and

Yanukovych’s “family business” links him to Russia

Viktor Yanukovych file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – January 28, 2014) The pro-Russian leanings of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his associates have triggered a national crisis following November’s shocking decision to back out of signing a deal that would have brought the country closer to the EU. Yet the Kremlin’s hold over Yanukovych may not be

RIA Novosti: Two-Fifths of Russians Uncertain Over Need for Ukraine Loan

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RIA Novosti – January 27, 2014) Around two-fifths of Russians have no idea why their government has committed to lending crisis-hit Ukraine $15 billion in taxpayer money, a survey has revealed. The loan announced in a surprise move late last year was designed to steer debt-strapped Ukraine through a potentially devastating looming balance of payments

RIA Novosti: Ruble Hits Historical Low Against Euro

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MOSCOW, January 24 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russia ruble hit a historical record low Friday, dropping to 47.32 rubles per euro at tomorrow settlement date on the Moscow stock exchange. The previous all-time low dates back to February 3, 2009, when the ruble stood at 47.25 rubles per euro. The dollar traded at 34.52 rubles

RIA Novosti: Russia Has Too Many Banks – Putin

VTB Bank Facade file photo

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that there are too many banks in Russia, Prime business news agency reported. “We have just under a thousand banks. That is, of course, a large quantity of financial institutions for our economy,” Putin said during a meeting with a group of Moscow students.

Ruble Expected to Stand its Ground, for Now

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – January 21, 2014) In a country like Russia, where a fair share of consumer goods come from abroad, the government’s efforts to move to a more flexible exchange rate for the domestic currency could rattle retailers and restaurants big time. Real estate brokers and others dealing in

Savers Should Dump Rubles and Buy Hard Currency, Economist Says

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 22, 2014) Russians should not keep their savings in rubles, as the currency is likely to depreciate, the head of the Banking Institute at the Higher School of Economics Vasily Solodkov said. “From now on, ruble exchange rate fluctuations against dollar and euro will be far more significant,” newspaper

Davos to Raise Awkward Questions

File Photo of "World Economic Forum" Display at Davos from Past Session

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – January 20, 2014) Russian delegates at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos could have to field uneasy questions about the country’s economic slowdown at a time when Western economies are regaining their confidence. Russia’s economic aid to Ukraine is also likely to surface during discussions at

State Boosts Grip on Economy With Bank Crackdown

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – December 26, 2013) For some bank depositors, the second half of 2013 has been a year to increase their intimacy with the state, whether they wanted to or not. Anyone with funds in the more than 30 small and medium-sized commercial banks that lost their licenses this

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