Tag Archives: Finance

Russian money infects London

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 31, 2015) Walk down Oxford Street into Knightsbridge and the signs “we speak Russian” are pasted inside the windows of many high-end shops. Bishops Avenue in north London has become one of the world’s most expensive addresses and is home to several oligarchs in exile. The lingua franca […]

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IMF ties itself into knots over status of Russia’s loan to Ukraine

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 27, 2015) A confusing argument has broken out over the crucial question of whether Ukraine’s $3bn worth of bonds held by Russia and due in December are “official” debt or not. The answer is important because if the bonds are “official” and Ukraine doesn’t pay them, the International […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Ruble gain brings hope to Russian economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

[“Ruble gain brings hope to Russian economy” – AFP – March 30, 2015] AFP covers variations in the value of the ruble amidst Russia’s ongoing economic crisis. It has been a torrid time of late for the Russian economy, as the fallout from Ukraine and tumbling oil prices have plunged the country into financial crisis. However, an unexpected recent rebound by […]

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Sanctions and Regime Survival

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, and Senior Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University – March 11, 2015 – article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/article/sanctions-and-regime-survival) Some debates never die; they just get replayed. After the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan in late December 1979, the United States imposed economic sanctions against the USSR. The Russian Federation since […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: A year into a conflict with Russia, are sanctions working?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

When it comes to inflicting economic pain on Russia, the Kremlin may be doing a better job than Western sanctions. Just don’t tell that to the Russian people, who overwhelmingly blame the West for a deepening recession that has parts of central Moscow starting to look like a ghost town. Prices are soaring. The ruble is dropping. And Russian living […]

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NEWSLINK TASS: Russia’s 200,000 employed senior citizens worry they may lose old age pension

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. Russian Labor and Social Protection Ministry’s idea of stripping employed senior citizens whose annual remuneration is one million roubles (about $16,500) or more of their old age security pension has sparked a debate in Russian society. In the context of Russia’s modern realities one million roubles is a sum enough to buy an average class car, […]

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Russian Government Struggles to Check Surging Cost of Medicine

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – March 27, 2015) The cost of medicine is rising fast in Russia, hitting consumers and challenging a government that has made its reputation as a bulwark of social stability. The ruble’s fall of nearly 40 percent to the U.S. dollar and 22 percent to the euro since the beginning of 2014 has sent […]

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The Central Banker Who Saved the Russian Economy From the Abyss

File Photo of Elvira Nabiullina at OECD Event, at Podium and On Large Video Screen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov – March 25, 2015) It was Dec. 16 — the day Russian traders would later christen Black Tuesday — and the ruble was in a freefall. “Intervene! Intervene!” a central bank official shouted. Governor Elvira Nabiullina watched the currency on her tablet screen react to her emergency rate increase. No, she said, […]

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Ruble Panic Recedes as Russians Start Selling Dollars

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 26, 2015) Russians sold more foreign currency than they bought in January for the first time in two years, the Central Bank said Wednesday, in a sign that last year’s panic over the ruble has subsided. The Russian currency went into meltdown in December as a months-long devaluation prompted by Western sanctions and oil […]

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Effect of ruble strengthening nearly neutral for Russian budget – Nesterenko

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) – Ruble strengthening in excess of that assumed in the 2015 budget would lead to both lower revenue and lower spending, meaning that the net impact on the budget will be neutral, First Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko said. “The ruble exchange rate and the price of oil [assumed in the budget] are forecasts calculated as […]

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Russia Sets Terms for Capital Amnesty to ‘Correct Past Mistakes’

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Anna Andrianova – March 26, 2015) Russia laid out the terms of a draft law to offer amnesty on repatriating capital, promising new incentives and legal protections to aid an economy starved of investment by sanctions over Ukraine. The bill won’t require the return of assets to Russian territory, demanding only their registration in […]

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Russia Rebounds, Despite Sanctions

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Matthew A. Winkler – March 20, 2015) Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News, writes about markets. [Charts here bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-20/russia-rebounds-despite-sanctions] Sanctions meant to punish Russia for snatching Crimea from Ukraine one year ago were supposed to hurt Russian business. And they did. Russian stocks, bonds and commodities had the worst performance in 2014 of those in […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions

Oil Wells File Photo

[“U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions” – Reuters – Timothy Gardner – March 23, 2015] Reuters examines Western sanctions on Russia, including some of the remaining options for energy-related sanctions. Energy is the economic lifeblood of Russia, which vies with the United States and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s top oil producer …the sector is the main target of […]

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Ukraine Bondholders’ Tough Talk Signals Debt Deal Won’t Be Easy

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Lyubov Pronina, Krystof Chamonikolas – March 17, 2015) The jockeying has begun in Ukraine’s debt restructuring talks. The government’s notes slid below 42 cents on the dollar on Tuesday as Russia said it wouldn’t budge on being paid back a $3 billion loan in full on time and the Financial Times reported Franklin Templeton won’t accept a […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Putin says no reason for confidence in economy, officials say worst over

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it was still too soon to feel confident about the country’s economy, although his ministers said the worst is over. Speaking to a conference of Russian businessmen, Putin said the central bank’s main interest rate, now at 14 percent, remains high but that the level was warranted by the situation. …     […]

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NEWSLINK Moscow Times: Q&A: Drawing Foreign Firms to Russia [interview with Kaluga governor Anatoly Artamonov]

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Kaluga region, an hour’s drive southwest of Moscow, has become a haven for investors. International giants in industries ranging from automotive to pharmaceutical have built plants, trained and employed thousands of locals, and turned a once-depressed region heavily dependent on federal subsidies into a donor to the national budget. …   http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/qa-drawing-foreign-firms-to-russia/517581.html

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The Russian banking system? Yeah, that’s going to be a problem

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – March 16, 2015) The most basic part of any bank’s business model is the extension of loans to consumers and corporations. Clients need money, to expand their business, buy a home, or, in a less sunny scenario, to re-finance existing borrowing, and the bank gives it to them while […]

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Six steps to return Russia to economic growth. The Russian economy is under pressure: it’s time for an alternative.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(opendemocracy.net – Kirill Rodionov – March 9, 2015) Kirill Rodionov is an independent journalist. From 2008 to 2013, he was a Research Fellow at the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, Moscow. Follow him on Twitter: @k_rodionov In late January 2015, the Russian government adopted an anti-crisis programme. The plan includes a number of measures intended to provide sustainable development of […]

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NEWSLINK: Federal Judge Orders Browder to Comply with Subpoena in Money-Laundering Case

U.S. Courthouse for Southern District of New York in Manhattan

Wall Street Journal: A Manhattan federal judge has ordered London-based hedge fund manager William Browder to comply with a subpoena that could force him to reveal the sources of information he gave to federal prosecutors in a high-profile money-laundering case. …

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Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – February 26, 2015) Russia is emerging as the world’s best stock market after putting in the worst performance last year. For neighboring Ukraine, the second-biggest loser in 2014, there’s no sign of such a turnaround yet. Russia’s dollar-denominated RTS Index has soared 15 percent in 2015, while the Ukrainian Equities Index is last […]

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Over 70% of Russians feel economic crisis effects – poll

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – February 24, 2015) The share of Russians acknowledging the ongoing economic crisis has grown to 71 percent, from 62 percent in January, the Public Opinion Foundation said. Some 14 percent of 1,500 respondents polled in 100 populated localities in 43 regions on February 14-15 claim they do not see any signs of a crisis (down from 20 percent […]

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Russia Dumps $22 Billion in U.S. Bonds to Slow Economy’s Slide

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – February 20, 2015) Moscow sold a total of $45 billion of U.S. treasury bonds in 2014 as relations with Western governments reached a post-Soviet nadir over the Ukraine crisis. Russia jettisoned $22 billion worth of U.S. treasury bonds in December as the Kremlin scrambled for cash to battle a plunging ruble and […]

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Novak: inability to borrow worse than low oil prices

oil-well-250-blm

MOSCOW. Feb 16 (Interfax) – The lack of lending sources is having a worse effect on the Russian oil industry than the low price of oil, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Interfax. “The main issue is the lack of lending resources, sources of financing, not the price of oil. Accordingly, due to the lack of financing, […]

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Would a Ukraine Peace Deal in Minsk Save the Russian Economy?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – February 12, 2015) U.S. President Barack Obama has claimed the Kremlin’s role in the Ukraine crisis brought the Russian economy to its knees. So, if a peace accord is reached in Minsk on Wednesday will it reboot the Russian economy? Hopes are high that a gathering of Russian, French, German and Ukrainian […]

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Russia opposed to restructuring of Ukraine’s debt – finance minister

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – Istanbul, February 10, 2015) Ukraine has asked Russia to agree to a restructuring of its debt, but it is in the Russian Federation’s interest to recover the currency assets it invested in Ukrainian eurobonds, and Russia is not willing for the repayment of these debts to be deferred or delayed, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has told journalists. […]

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NEWSWATCH: Morgan Stanley thinks Russia’s doomed

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

[“Morgan Stanley thinks Russia’s doomed” – BusinessInsider.com – Elena Holodny – January 30, 2015] Business Insider reports on Morgan Stanley’s pessimistic Russian economic forecast: Morgan Stanley has a short message for Russia: you’re doomed. This past week hasn’t been easy for the Russian economy: … Thursday … EU foreign ministers decided to extend … sanctions on Russia by six months. Additionally, the Central Bank slashed […]

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S&P downgrades Russia to junk

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 27, 2015) Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk status late on January 26, a move which precipitated the rouble’s fall by more than 6%. S&P lowered Russia’s credit rating to BB+, one step below investment grade, as renewed fighting in Ukraine raised the threat of tighter Western […]

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Ten New Laws That Will Affect Your Life in Russia in 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 21, 2015) New year, new you: An expression that has taken on a special meaning for those living in Russia, where a plethora of new laws – many with a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens and residents – entered into effect on Jan. 1. The Moscow Times has […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Is a banking crisis looming in Russia?

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – January 20, 2015) The Russian government will supply banks with nearly $15 billion to help stave off a possible financial crisis. Only banks that are willing to increase credit in the production sector of the economy will be eligible to receive the money. In such a way the government […]

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China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion

China Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – December 22, 2014) Two Chinese ministers offered support for Russia as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up the ruble without depleting foreign-exchange reserves. China will provide help if needed and is confident Russia can overcome its economic difficulties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a Dec. 20 report by Hong […]

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The rouble crisis in Siberia

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Fofanova – December 17, 2014) Anna Fofanova is a Tomsk-based editor and journalist. As the rouble collapses, residents of Tomsk have long memories – from Black Tuesday 1994 to Black Tuesday 2014. Tomsk is a provincial city in the best sense of the word. Indeed, as the largest centre for education and science on the other side […]

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Russians in Biggest Cities Feel the Most Pain from Crisis, Gudkov Says

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 22, 2014) Russians living in the largest cities, the people who benefited the most from the oil-driven boom of the last decade, now feel the greatest concern about the impact on their lives of the economic crisis because they are better informed than those in smaller ones and rural areas, a […]

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Does anybody in Russia care about the ruble?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Bovt, special to RBTH – December 19, 2014) After becoming two times poorer in real terms since the beginning of the year due to the collapse of the ruble, Russians could well have taken to the streets to protest against the government’s economic policies. Why hasn’t that happened? And why is mass […]

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The oil price is all that matters regarding Russia

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer – December 19, 2014) Chris Weafer is Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting. The key takeaway concerning the economy and the ruble from President Valdimir Putin’s press conference on December 18 is that the Kremlin does not have any strategy or plan to try and pull out of this […]

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How does the 2014 ruble crisis compare with the 1998 vintage?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 17, 2014) The ruble’s crash on December 15 from RUB53 to nearly RUB80 vs the dollar has caused many commentators to compare this crisis to Russia’s financial collapse in 1998. Is Russia really going into a full-scale meltdown for the fourth time in two decades? Crashing oil prices […]

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Russian Media Downplay Extent of Ruble Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Ivan Nechepurenko – December 17, 2014) While the ruble pinballed erratically between 58 and 80 per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, making headlines around the world, Russia’s state-run media have attempted to take a soft and conciliatory stance on the home currency’s woes. A news bullet by state-owned Channel One aired at 6 p.m. […]

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What awaits Russia’s economy in 2015 after ruble collapse?

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Konstantin Korishchenko, special to RBTH – December 17, 2014) Konstantin Korishchenko is head of the stock market and financial engineering department at the Finance and Banking Faculty of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and a former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. As the Russian ruble plunges […]

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Medvedev says ruble ‘undervalued’ as slide slows

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 17, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the ruble undervalued at a meeting on December 17 with the top officials of the government, the central bank and heads of Russia’s largest exporters. He said that regulation of the currency market would remain based on market principles, but the presence […]

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Picking through the ruble

Russian Central Bank file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 16, 2014) The Russian ruble crashed again on December 15, in the biggest fall since the last big crisis in 1998. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) belatedly stepped in with a huge interest rate hike overnight, but it has been roundly criticised for being “behind […]

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Fears of Capital Controls Grow as Russia’s Economy Goes Haywire

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – December 17, 2014) The possible implementation of capital controls in Russia came a step closer Tuesday as the authorities appeared to be running out of options to stem the country’s dramatic currency collapse. The ruble defied an emergency interest rate rise of 6.5 percentage points announced overnight, falling 20 percent to above […]

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Yavlinsky calls for returning Kudrin to government

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(Interfax – December 13, 2014) Grigory Yavlinsky, a founder of the Yabloko party, calls for replacing the Russian government and appointing former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a new prime minister or first deputy prime minister with a special mandate. “We believe the government needs to be changed – whether it’s going to be the entire government or its economic block […]

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Business New Europe: “Better late than never?”

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 12, 2014) There is an obvious solution to help deal with Russia’s economic slowdown that is being exacerbated by the tumbling oil prices: do those reforms that should have been done ten years ago. It’s kind of obvious. But also just as obvious is that a […]

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Business New Europe: Flippant claim that ‘Russia is Spain’ is wide of the mark

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Business New Europe – Henry Kirby in London – December 11, 2014) After months of downward pressure, the ruble went into near free-fall during the first week of December. From 36 to the dollar in early August, the Russian currency fell rapidly from 47 to 53 to the greenback in just a few days, amid rumours (later discredited) that the […]

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Business New Europe: Russia is running out of money – not…

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – December 11, 2014) There has been a spate of articles recently suggesting that Russia is on the edge of a complete economic meltdown. There was an article in the UK’s The Daily Telegraph suggesting that its economy has lost a third of its value in dollar terms […]

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Putin offers Russian business ‘full’ offshore capital amnesty

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 4, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a complete capital amnesty, allowing businesses to repatriate offshore funds without fear of the consequences. “We need to finally turn the ‘offshore page’ in the history of our economy and country,” Putin told the federal assembly in his annual address. “If someone […]

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Crash Course: The Ruble’s Volatile Two Decades

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – December 02, 2014) The Russian ruble’s sharp plunge this week, which saw it fall below 50 to the U.S. dollar, has revived the specter of the kind of currency crisis that Russians have suffered through repeatedly over the past 25 years. The ruble on December 1 took its steepest dive in intraday trading […]

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Interfax: Russian Investigations Committee drafts measures to slow down capital flight

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – November 24, 2014) Russian Investigations Committee has prepared its own proposals allowing to “considerably slow down” the capital flight from Russia, the committee’s head Aleksandr Bastrykin has said, as reported by privately-owned news agency Interfax on 24 November. “We are so wealthy and powerful that we will be able to cope with problems caused by sanctions that are […]

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Ukraine Shrugged Off as Russia ETF Swells to Record

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – November 24, 2014) As oil fell into a bear market, the ruble traded at record lows and NATO said President Vladimir Putin is stoking conflict in Ukraine, bets on the biggest exchange-traded fund tracking Russian stocks surged to a record. Demand for shares in the Market Vectors Russia ETF has held up as […]

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Sanctions Affect Half Of Russia’s Banking Sector, Report Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 19, 2014) Russian banks are the most vulnerable among the world’s large emerging market economies due to Western sanctions and near zero levels of economic growth, a Standard & Poor’s report released Wednesday said. Sanctions directly affect more than 50 percent of Russia’s banking sector, which is dominated by state financial institutions, the report […]

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Interfax: Russian central banker says economy can withstand lower oil price, sanctions

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Interfax – November 18, 2014) The head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, has said that the economy would retain stability if things go less than well, i.e. if oil prices averages 80 dollars per barrel and sanctions continue until the end of 2017. Speaking in the State Duma on 18 November, she added that Russia’s financial system was […]

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