Foreign investors may get access to major deposits in Russia

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If a foreign company in Russia repeats the recent success of Italian energy company in Egypt and discovers a strategic deposit on Russian territory, it will be able to develop that deposit. Experts expect the relevant amendments to the Russian legislation to attract investment in exploration. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Kuchma, RBTH – September 1, 2015) […]

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All You Need to Know About Ukraine’s $18 Billion Debt Agreement

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff – August 27, 2015) Ukraine reached a bond-restructuring agreement with about half of its private-sector creditors on Thursday after five months of negotiations. Below are the details of the terms of the agreement and what happens next. Which bonds are included? The deal covers $18 billion of Ukraine’s foreign debt, including 11 government Eurobonds […]

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Russia Faces Reality With Prediction of Deeper Economic Slump

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Olga Tanas – August 25, 2015) Russia’s government is starting to face reality. While insisting the worst of its recession was over, it cut its economic forecasts for this year and next amid the renewed plunge in energy prices and persistent sanctions over Ukraine. Economists said the revisions fell short of their estimates predicting […]

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‘Black Monday’ inflicts further damage on Russian markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Amid turmoil on global financial markets, the Russian ruble fell to a historic low against the U.S. dollar on Aug. 24, while the key stock market index, the RTS, dropped 6 percent. Russian analysts say that there is little room for optimism while oil prices remain low. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan – August 25, 2015) […]

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Russia Won’t Suffer the Soviet Union’s Fate

dont-talk-soviet-poster

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 25, 2015) If you believe low oil prices killed the Soviet Union, it seems reasonable to wonder whether the current commodities bust will topple President Vladimir Putin or even break up Russia. Cheap oil, however, didn’t destroy the Soviet empire: Communism did. Putin’s Russia is more oil-dependent than its predecessor, but it […]

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Sanctions not responsible for Russia’s falling GDP, say experts

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According to a new report by Central Bank analysts, sanctions against Russia have not played a significant role in the decline of Russia’s economy, with experts agreeing that low oil prices are principally to blame. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – August 24, 2015) The introduction of Western sanctions against Russia is responsible for only […]

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Russian ruble tumbles as oil prices tank

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – August 20, 2015) Russia’s ruble tumbled to a six-month low of RUB67 to the dollar and RUB75 to the euro on Thursday, as oil prices dropped yet again to $47 a barrel. The fall in the ruble adds to the turmoil in emerging markets over the past […]

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Russia Rewrites Growth Blueprint as Recession Dooms Consumer

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 19, 2015) [Chart here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-19/russia-rewrites-blueprint-for-growth-as-recession-dooms-consumer] Russia’s consumer economy, powered for more than a decade by a $2.1 trillion energy windfall, is in agony. The situation is getting worse, according to data released Wednesday by the statistics office in Moscow. Wages adjusted for inflation plummeted 9.2 percent last month from a year earlier […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Chris Weafer: No End in Sight to the Ruble’s Downward Slide

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Writing in The Moscow Times, Chris Weafer considers trends in the Russian economy, with a focus on the ruble. … More than anything else the ruble is very much like the single bolt which holds a hang-glider together. If it breaks then the glider will fall to earth and the pilot very likely killed. * * * The reason why the ruble has that critical role is because, […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Russians Seek to Soften Impact of Ruble Depreciation. Businesses look for new ways to hedge against further currency volatility.

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The Wall Street Journal covers Russian vulnerability to currency volatility. Under Russian President Vladimir Putin, currency volatility once seemed consigned to the past. Before Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year, the ruble had kept an average range of between 25 and 35 to the dollar for several years. Now the exchange rate hovers around 66 to the dollar. * * […]

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Putin Aide Who Called Shock Rate Cut Sees Pause as Oil Nears $40

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Evgenia Pismennaya – August 18, 2015) Andrey Belousov went largely unheeded the last time he forecast a shift in monetary policy. Now President Vladimir Putin’s top economic aide is lending weight to a growing consensus that Russia’s easing cycle is wearing out. The central bank may pause its interest-rate cuts after five decreases this […]

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Russia continues to increase investments in U.S. Treasuries

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

(Interfax – August 18, 2015) Russia increased its investments in U.S. Treasury bonds in June by $1.4 billion, just as it did in May, according to data from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System, published on Aug. 18. At the end of June, the volume of Russian-owned U.S. Treasury bonds stood at $72 billion. Russia is currently 19th […]

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Russia’s surprisingly stingy sovereign wealth fund

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As disputes over budget spending intensify, the stability of NWF suggests fiscal conservatives in government can still fight their corner. (Business New Europe – bne.eu – Alex Nice, analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit – August 18, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/insiders-russias-surprisingly-stingy-sovereign-wealth-fund] Since the EU and US imposed sanctions on Russia’s banking, defence and energy sectors in mid-2014, there has been speculation […]

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Fractures Form Inside Russia’s Central Bank as Recession Deepens

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov – August 12, 2015) In his first stint as a top Russian central bank official in the early 1990s, Dmitry Tulin saw how flooding cheap credit to dying industrial giants delivered hyperinflation instead of growth. Now back as the bank’s monetary chief, Tulin, 59, has argued internally for easier credit and more […]

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VIDEO: Conversation: Russia’s Perfect Economic Storm

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(Stratfor.com – August 11, 2015) Video Transcript: Ben Sheen: Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Ben Sheen, I’m a managing editor here at Stratfor, and with me today is Stratfor’s senior Eurasia analyst, Lauren Goodrich, who will be talking to me about the state of the Russian economy. So Lauren, Russia is struggling at the moment. […]

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Interfax: Main indicators of Russian banking system point to its stability – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

MOSCOW. Aug 10 (Interfax) – The main figures from Russia’s banking system show that it is stable and in a safe zone, Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The situation in the banking sphere is a lot like a mirror of what is happening in the economy. Of course, outside factors can […]

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RBTH: Fresh U.S. sanctions will only boost import substitution – Russian experts

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

The extension of U.S. sanctions against Russia on July 30 will first and foremost lead to the strengthening of import substitution, say Russian analysts. However, with the blacklist now expanded to include branch companies of the country’s main development institute, Vnesheconombank, and Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, the realization of large infrastructure projects may seriously be affected. (Russia Beyond the […]

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U.S. Sanctions Official: Russia ‘Will Probe With A Bayonet’

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – WASHINGTON, July 31, 2015) A top U.S. diplomat overseeing sanctions policy says punitive economic measures are curtailing Russian “aggression” and testing Western resolve amid Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists. “I think that in true Leninist fashion, the Russian government will probe with a bayonet, so to speak, until it encounters resistance,” Daniel Fried, […]

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Average Bribe in Russia Doubles in Rubles, Remains Steady in Dollars

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2015) The amount of the average bribe in Russia has nearly doubled this year, reaching 208,000 rubles ($3,485 at today’s rate), as the country’s currency has shed value amid Western sanctions and an economic downturn, according to Interior Ministry estimates cited by pro-government Izvestia daily on Friday. This compares to about 109,000 rubles […]

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NEWSWATCH BBC: Russian debtors despair as boom turns to bust

Cash, Calculator, Pen

The BBC covers the Russian economic crisis and the plight of Russians who took on debt during boom times only to face misery and potential disaster now. Millions of Russians took out loans during the economic boom years, but now they face crippling debts and the law is not on their side …. * * * … the Russian United Credit Bureau […]

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Ukraine is ripe for the shock doctrine; Like many states in crisis before it, Ukraine serves as a perfect opportunity for neoliberal transformation.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(opendemocracy.net – Sean Guillory – July 27, 2015) Sean Guillory is a UCIS/REES postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. He hosts the podcast New Books in Russian and Eurasian Studies and received his PhD in History at UCLA. Follow him on Twitter @seansrussiablog While a crisis of faith, of sorts, has resounded in western discourse on the economic effectiveness […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: Ukraine puts new debt restructuring proposals to creditors – minister

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Reuters covers the restructuring of Ukrainian debt. Heavily indebted Ukraine has made new proposals to its creditors for restructuring $23 billion of foreign debt and is now awaiting their response …. *** The IMF has brought relief to Ukraine by saying it will disburse $1.7 billion in fresh funds under a $17.5 bailout package irrespective of a restructuring deal being […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Stephen Hadley, Robert Zoellick: Crucial Weapons in the Defense of Ukraine. Without debt reduction and more aid, a young democracy could vanish.

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Hadley and Robert Zoellick address the issue of Western assistance for Ukraine amidst the Russo-Ukrainian War, including financial and debt-related assistance. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an assault on the vision that emerged from the end of the Cold War of a Europe whole, free and at peace. For that vision to be realized, the […]

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Russia Braces for Longest Recession in Decades With $50 Oil

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – July 22, 2015) For an economy that lives and dies by crude prices, the latest downturn in the world oil market means Russia’s recession may stretch into next year for the longest slump in two decades. Russia’s first economic slump since 2009 looked like it would plateau as oil gained 40 percent from […]

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NEWSWATCH Deutsche Welle: Russia less-than-charitable toward charities.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Deutsche Welle covers governmental threats to charitable activities in Russia, including the saga of Dynasty and “foreign agent” labeling. … A law that calls those who receive funds from outside the country ‘foreign agents,’ an economic downturn that’s seen the market contract by 10 percent with no end in sight … sanctions that have seen the value of the ruble plummet to … anywhere […]

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NEWSWATCH The Times (UK): U.S. ready to switch off cash supply to Putin. The US proposals mark a dramatic escalation in financial sanctions against Moscow.

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The London Times reports on U.S. efforts to bring greater financial pressure against the Putin regime over the conflict in Ukraine. The United States is ready to starve Russia of access to western credit if President Putin fails to meet demands for peace in Ukraine. The punitive measures against Mr Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs and their extensive business interests […]

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Russia Signals Tighter Ruble Reins as Economy Braces for Shocks

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov, Olga Voitova – July 9, 2015) Russia is asserting more control over its currency as crises from Greece to China create new vulnerabilities for the recession-hit economy. Russia is succeeding at keeping the ruble within an “acceptable corridor” while maintaining its reserves and a positive trade balance, President Vladimir Putin said on […]

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Seven New Laws That Will Change the Face of Russia

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 8, 2015) Russian lawmakers have kept themselves very busy this year. Over the course of its spring session, which ended Friday, Russia’s State Duma passed a total of 278 new laws. The majority of these were unremarkable – ratifications to international agreements, minor budgetary adjustments and a busload of measures aimed […]

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What Does Greece’s ‘No’ Vote Mean for Russia?

Ancient Temple Ruins in Greece with Tourists

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova, Delphine d’Amora – July 7, 2015) As EU leaders gather Tuesday to seek an answer to Greece’s sweeping rejection of international bailout terms, Russia -the EU’s third-largest trading partner – is quietly waiting to see where the chips fall. Hailed as a victory for democracy by Greece’s new far-left leaders, the resounding “no” […]

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Russia most likely to have 10.5% inflation for year – Ulyukayev

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MOSCOW. July 7 (Interfax) – Russia is must likely to have 10.5% inflation for this year, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said. “Our official forecast is 11.9%. We won’t be changing it before we submit our adjusted forecast to the government. Officially it will remain such until September. But right now we see the most likely dynamic as falling to […]

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Ruble’s Top Forecaster Sees Deeper Rout as Companies Repay Debt

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 2, 2015) Sanctions are once again catching up on the ruble. While still the best performer in the world this year, no emerging-market currency has fallen more in the past month as the effect of rebounding oil prices faded. Approaching foreign-debt payments and a shrinking economy probably mean it has a further […]

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Russia’s state banks are rotten

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 29, 2015) Banks epitomise capitalism, but not in Russia. The financial industrial empires of men like JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild and Harriman are intimately tied up with creating the vibrant no-holds-barred capitalism in the US. In Russia the top five banks are all state-owned and their power comes […]

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Russia’s Pivot to China Is Real

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 25, 2015) The search for alternative investors and markets has been a political priority for President Vladimir Putin and his government since Western countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia last year. The resulting pivot to China may seem merely cosmetic, but it is happening. Admittedly, most of the vague and extremely long-term […]

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Interfax: Extension of Russian countersanctions for one year meets interests of national economic development – Peskov

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. June 24 (Interfax) – The extension of Russian countersanctions for a year meets the interests of the country’s economic development, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. “Our interests, I mean the interests of the Russian Federation from the viewpoint of the economic development of the country,” he said to journalists answering the question in relation to what Russia […]

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Russia’s recovery faces a reality check

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory – June 22, 2015) After a relatively positive performance for Russia’s economy in the first quarter, the second quarter has brought more of a reality check, with sharply lower numbers across many categories reported in April and May. The preliminary GDP estimate for April shows a contraction of 4.2% year […]

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Putin Offers Little Change at Russia’s Top Economic Forum

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko and Peter Hobson – ST. PETERSBURG, June 22, 2015) More than a year into an economic firestorm that is pushing Russia into its first recession in six years, Russia’s flagship economic forum in St. Petersburg was titled “Time to Act.” With Western sanctions over Ukraine and fallen oil prices battering the economy, thousands […]

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The long decline in Russia’s international reserves has stopped

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Heli Simola of Bank of Finland – June 18, 2015) [Charts here bne.eu/content/story/comment-long-decline-russias-international-reserves-has-stopped] Russia’s international reserves have declined substantially, by around $150bn, since the start of 2014. However, during the second quarter of this year the level of reserves has been relatively stable, fluctuating at around $350bn-360bn. The recent stabilization has been supported by […]

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Lack of Action Questions Forum’s Reform Agenda

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – ST. PETERSBURG – June 19, 2015) Amid the grandiose, ambitious slogans of this year’s International Economic Forum, which opened Thursday featuring topics ranging from building efficiency in essential state-owned enterprises to making Russian jurisdiction “more comfortable for business,” the need to shift from defining problems to acting on them loomed large across […]

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War-Weary Ukraine Shutters Cash-Starved Banks as Trust Falls

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany, Andras Gergely – June 12, 2015) When Vasyl Klos plunked $9,000 into a bank branch in his hometown of Lviv, Ukraine, in 2013, he assumed it was safe because it was German owned. He was wrong. Bank Forum JSC had already been sold by Commerzbank AG to Ukrainian businessman Vadim Novinsky, a fact Klos […]

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IMF Offers Ukraine a Poisoned Chalice

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 10, 2015) A top International Monetary Fund official is offering Ukraine a generous gift: continued loans, even if it stops paying private creditors. It is, however, a trap of sorts. Accepting the deal risks undermining Ukraine’s ability to borrow on the open market and strengthening its dependency on the IMF. “If at […]

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World’s economic centre of gravity continues shift east

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 9, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-worlds-economic-centre-gravity-continues-shift-east] The leaders of the G7 industrialised nations met in Berlin on June 7, but their decisions are becoming less and less relevant to the rest of the world as the centre of global economic gravity moves relentlessly east. In 1990, the centre of […]

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Beleaguered Russian Science Foundation Dynasty Delays Decision on Closure

File Photo of Test Tubes with Algae Displaying Different Colors, Part of U.S. Energy-Related Research; from nrel.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 9, 2015) Beleaguered science organization the Dynasty Foundation, which has been grappling in recent days with whether or not to shut its doors, announced that a decision on the matter will be delayed to provide time to wrap up ongoing projects, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday. Following its inclusion on […]

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Interfax: Peak of inflation has passed, but risks remain – Nabiullina

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

MOSCOW. June 8 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia is expecting a reduction of inflation and noted that its peak has already passed, although risks exist for it, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said. “Weekly inflation has remained at 0.1% for six weeks already. According to our estimate, we have passed the peak of inflation, we are forecasting its […]

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Russia No Longer a Good Option for Foreign Banks

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 3, 2015) The economic fallout of the Ukraine crisis has transformed perceptions of Russia among foreign banks and will likely see lenders curtail the operations of their Russian subsidiaries, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday. Foreign banks piled into Russia in the early 2000s in the hope that near 10 percent annual economic […]

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