Russia Goes All In On Arctic Oil Development

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – October 19, 2017) Neither sanctions nor persistently low oil prices are hindering Russia’s ambitions or plans to develop oil resources in its sections of the Arctic. In April, state-controlled oil giant Rosneft started drilling the northernmost well on the Russian Arctic shelf in the Khatangsky license area in the Laptev Sea. In June, Rosneft struck […]

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Interfax: Oreshkin sees positive foreign investor sentiment regarding Russian economy recovery

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – GORKY, Oct. 16) Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said he saw positive sentiment among foreign investors regarding a recovery in the Russian economy. “Today’s meeting was definitely characterized by overall positive sentiment regarding the fact that the Russian economy has begun to recover and that economic growth has taken off. Companies feel this in their financials,” Oreshkin […]

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Saudi Arabia to Plan Russia Deals, Deepening Energy Ties

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Wael Mahdi , Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – October 3, 2017) Saudi Arabia is looking at unprecedented deals to acquire #oil and #gas assets in Russia, deepening ties between the world’s largest energy exporters as the Saudi king prepares to visit Moscow later this week. OPEC’s biggest crude producer is considering investing in Russia’s largest oil […]

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NEWSLINK: “Little cash for Russia’s new Arctic development program; Ambitions are sky-high, but much hinges on private investments” – The Independent Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“… The new Russian Arctic program has undergone major revision since the Ministry of Economic Development was commissioned to make a draft. The Ministry first proposed to allocated 209 billion rubles (€3.1 billion) of state cash to program implementation. Later, the sum was reduced to only 12 billion rubles (€177 million). Originally, the program was to cover the period until […]

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What Jolted Russia’s Investments Is About to Fizzle Out; From pipelines to cash registers, the factors that caused last quarter’s pickup in investment are only temporary

Gas Facility file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 30, 2017) [Text with charts bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/what-jolted-russia-s-investments-is-about-to-fizzle-out] Russian investments have spiked to a five-year high as the economy exited recession, but the factors that drove the boom are already fading. Fixed-capital investment accelerated an annual 6.3 percent in the second quarter, according to Bank of Russia estimates, the most since 2012. The jump […]

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A Month After Tighter Sanctions, Russia Risk Drops to a Four-Year Low

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Natasha Doff, Ksenia Galouchko – August 24, 2017) [Text with charts: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-24/month-after-sanctions-storm-russia-risk-drops-to-four-year-low] Less than a month after the U.S. toughened its main sanctions against Russia, a measure of the country’s political risk is back to its lowest level in four years. The cost of insuring Russian debt against default for five years using credit-default swaps dropped […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Back to the land: Russia’s farming transformation; Can government policy and a new foodie class turn the country into an agricultural force?” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“… With 123 million hectares in arable land – the world’s third-largest area behind only India and the U.S. – Russia has the potential to be an agricultural superpower. The country has 36,400 agricultural enterprises and 174,600 farmers, according to the 2016 agricultural census. … although the broader economy has been in the grip of recession over the past two […]

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Russia Braces for Permanent Sanctions From the U.S.; Moscow was hopeful Trump would loosen sanctions. Instead, he made them permanent.

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Anna Andrianova – August 8, 2017) Andrey Kostin, a former Soviet diplomat in London who runs Russia’s second-largest bank, was jubilant when Donald Trump was elected last year. “We may soon see U.S. financial sanctions eased or even lifted,” he said at the time. Now, he’s changed his tune as his state-run VTB Group, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why New U.S. Sanctions Could Be a Ticking Time Bomb for Investors in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Elisabeth Braw, Nabi Abdullaev

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

“The 755 staff forced to leave the U.S. embassy by … Putin may seem to have little to do with private companies wishing to invest in Russia. But in reality, they’re closely linked. … international companies planning to invest in Russia or already doing business there now face more uncertainty. And six months from now, a ticking bomb wrapped in […]

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Why Russia’s Market Is Rising After Sanctions Bill Approval

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 27, 2017) The U.S. House has approved a bill hardening sanctions against Russia, but European resistance to some of its toughest new measures means the impact on companies will be muted, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG. As it stands now, the most negative aspect of the bill […]

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Interfax: Defense finish reviewing evidence in Browder, Cherkasov dossier

File Photo of William Browder Seated at Table with Microphone as Woman Listens, with Image Watermark Saying Presented by Library of Congress with U.S. House of Representatives Seal, adapted from image at house.gov

MOSCOW. July 22 (Interfax) – The materials concerning Hermitage Capital Management co-founder William Browder and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov were sent for approval to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, the defense lawyer Alexander Antipov said on Thursday. “The defense finished reviewing the case files, currently, the dossier has been sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office but I don’t think […]

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Bondholder’s Dream Beckons as ‘Japanification’ Sweeps Russia

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – June 28, 2017 – Anna Andrianova) From the bondholder’s perspective, Russia has a lot in common with Japan and Italy. That’s a good thing, mostly. An aging population more prone to saving, combined with a “strongly conservative” economy, offer the best mix for fixed-income investors, according to Renaissance Capital. While poor demographics will haunt Russia’s growth […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Navigating the Complexities of Doing Business in Russia” – Harvard Business Review/ Mark McNamee

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

… Most firms we work with feel a sense of powerlessness to handle the changing conditions in Russia. But  … there are ways that they can manage the uncertainty. … First, companies should pinpoint exactly what elements of their operations are most vulnerable to abrupt changes in foreign policy relations. … [and] think through the types of political and macroeconomic […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Rallies: 1.3% GDP Growth, $55 Oil, World Bank Says; The Russian ruble is strengthening today on solid economic growth targets from the World Bank” – Barrons/ Dimitra DeFotis

World Bank Building

“Russia’s economy can expand at a 1.3% pace in 2017 and by 1.4% in 2018 and 2019, the World Bank said …. The ruble is strengthening … up 0.7% against the U.S. dollar, and Russian equities are rallying in Moscow. The VanEck Vectors Russia exchange-traded fund (RSX) is higher by 0.5% … as are the U.S.-traded shares of Sberbank Rossia (SBRCY). Moody’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Despite Sanctions, Russia’s Oil Industry Powers On” – Wall Street Journal/ Bradley Olson, Jay Solomon

Oil Well file photo

“Exxon Mobil … is suffering from sanctions on Russia. The same can’t be said for other big Western energy companies, or for Russia’s oil production. … sanctions, put in place by the U.S. and European Union in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, were meant to limit Russia’s pursuit of new technology for extracting more crude oil […]

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NEWSLINK: “ExxonMobil Just Challenged Trump to Get Serious With Russia Policy” – Fortune/ Richard Nephew, Colin Rowat

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

“Earlier this month, news leaked that ExxonMobil was pushing the Treasury Department to grant it a sanctions waiver, which would allow the company to resume its joint venture Black Sea drilling operations with Russian oil giant Rosneft. The Treasury Department has since denied the waiver application, as waivers are granted for humanitarian and policy reasons, not for business reasons—which was […]

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Trump Lacks Room to Move on Sanctions on Russia, Economists Say

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andre Tartar, Anna Andrianova – April 3, 2017) What a difference three months can make. Donald Trump dropped enough hints during the campaign and in the run-up to his inauguration as U.S. president to turn most economists into believers in an imminent easing of sanctions imposed against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. But as scandals […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian corporate governance comes in from the ‘Caveman era'” – bne Intellinews/Jason Corcoran

“Russia’s new corporate governance code … in place for two years, is being increasingly adhered to, according to market participants. Other reforms undertaken by the Moscow Exchange – as well as an increase in domestic liquidity – is accelerating the trend for more companies to list in the Russian capital rather than in London. …” [featured image is file photo, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The fate of Russian stocks hinges on politics and oil” – CNBC/Rebecca Ungarino

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“… The Moscow composite index is down nearly 8 percent year to date, underperforming the U.S. by nearly 15 percent as optimism around the possibility of the removal of trade sanctions against Russia fades. And crude oil, which weighs heavily on the Russian economy, has traded in a narrow range so far this year, offering no help to Russian stocks. […]

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Moscow Court Overturns Fine for Independent Russian News Outlet RBC

Igor Sechin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 1, 2017) A Moscow court has overturned the decision to fine independent Russian news outlet RBC for libelling oligarch and Putin ally Igor Sechin. An RBC report published in April 2016 claimed that Sechin, the CEO of Russian oil giant Rosneft, had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to block the company’s minority stakeholder from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian IPO wave on the way” – bne/Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“A wave of Russian IPO could be gathering momentum out to sea after iconic toy store Detsky Mir placed its €333mn IPO earlier this month. Russia’s equity market has come back to life with about $1.9bn worth of securities issued in just the last three months. …”

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Interfax: Moody’s upgrades Russia rating outlook to stable

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Moody’s Investors Service has changed the outlook for Russia’s sovereign ratings to stable from negative. Russia’s issuer rating and the rating for Russian government bonds have been affirmed at Ba1, and the short-term rating has been affirmed at Not Prime, the rating agency said in a press release. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov welcomed Moody’s decision. […]

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Brazil, Russia Get Top Marks in Emerging Market Survey

File Photo of Flags of BRICS Nations and BRICS Logo from Past Summit

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Yumi Teso, Lilian Karunungan – February 12, 2017) [Charts here https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-12/brazil-russia-favored-in-emerging-market-survey-china-dodged] Combine the prospects for interest-rate cuts with their higher carry-trade returns and two countries stand out as the best bets this year in emerging markets: Brazil and Russia. In a survey of 16 investors and analysts conducted Jan. 23 to Feb. 1, the nations’ bonds […]

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Putin’s Tough Choice: China Or The West

Eurasia Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – February 3, 2017) To many observers, the appointment of Tillerson to the helm the State Dept signaled the Administration’s priority of supporting the oil industry, which in recent years has been under severe pressure from OPEC’s campaign of over-production that forced prices down to a post-recession low. Seen from a different angle, the move also […]

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NEWSWATCH: “McDonald’s to Open at Least 50 New Restaurants in Russia in 2017” – Reuters

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

McDonald’s plans to open more than 50 restaurants in Russia this year and hopes to sign more franchising deals to expand in existing and new regions, the local unit’s chief executive said on Tuesday. The fast-food chain opened 73 restaurants in Russia last year, exceeding its forecast. Of the newly-opened restaurants, 65 are company-owned, Khamzat Khasbulatov, head of McDonald’s Russia, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Survived Sanctions, And BlackRock Goes Overweight” – Forbes.com/Kenneth Rapoza

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russian oil and gas companies, along with its biggest banks, were sanctioned in the summer of 2014 following the March annexation of Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula in southeastern Ukraine. Tension between the West and Russia increased that year as a new, U.S. backed government led by Arsesniy Yatsenyuk took hold in Kiev, sending Moscow into panic mode. Russia […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia investment and political stories go their separate ways” – bne/Intellinews/Ben Aris

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“There are two Russias at the moment. The first is the evil “Putin’s Russia” that kills journalists, bombs civilians and invades other countries. Then there is “bull Russia”, where investors have been making fat profits ….”

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Prosecutors should continue paying more attention to protecting fair business from pressure, unjustified checks – Putin

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – Fair business must be reliably protected by the state, including from unjustified checks, prosecutors must continue work in this direction, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Fair, honest, transparent business must be reliably protected by the state, including from unjustified checks and other pressure,” he said at a meeting on the occasion of the 295th anniversary […]

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Econ Ministry to prepare measures in Feb to improve Russia’s Doing Business rating

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) – The Economic Development Ministry plans to prepare a list of measures in February to further improve Russia’s Doing Business rating. “The need to further improve the business climate has been spoken of. Here standard work for moving further ahead is underway. Russia made a very big step in the Doing Business rating, for instance, over […]

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Rosneft Privatization Deal Closed As Italian Financing Comes Through

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The tumultuous privatization saga of Russia’s largest oil company appears to be drawing to a close. Swiss-British commodities trading firm Glencore and the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund have closed a deal to purchase 19.5 percent of state-controlled Rosneft, according to a statement on Glencore’s website. The news was followed by an announcement […]

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Putin Bans Officials From Owning Foreign Assets Via Third Parties

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 29, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning state officials from owning “foreign financial instruments” through third parties. The text of the new law – which applies to members of parliament, government officials, and law enforcement officers – was published on an official government legal website. The document defines foreign financial […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Moscow, Trump’s tapping of Tillerson lifts hope of U.S. rapprochement; Russian experts know ExxonMobil CEO and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson well, and see Trump’s selection of him as a signal that genuine detente is a possibility.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Rex Tillerson file photo, adapted from image at readyagain.gov

“It’s a rarity for Moscow to be enthusiastic over a US president’s choice for secretary of State. It certainly wasn’t the case for either of the past two secretaries, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. … Trump’s decision … to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is proving to be a pleasant surprise to Russia. … the nomination … seems evidence to […]

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Sanctions, economic pressure are increasingly used for political pressure – Putin

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Dec 7 (Interfax) – Russia should take into account the increase in the use of methods of economic and sanction pressure when working on its long-term economic strategy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Economic restrictions, pressure, and sanctions are being increasingly used for political purposes, under the guise of political purposes, often in competition. We should take these tendencies […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Continue the Unfinished Business of Integrating Russia into the Global Economy. Renewed economic interaction would increase the West’s influence, not lessen it” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/J. Andrew Spindler

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump has an unusual opportunity … to improve the tone of U.S.-Russian relations, currently at one of their lowest ebbs …. The positive possibilities in the short run are substantial …. the potential for a U.S.-Russian collaboration in the Middle East, particularly with regard to defeating ISIS and developing a peace plan for Syria. … there are many other […]

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Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia

File Photo of Ikea Store with Russian Language Facade and Shopping Carts

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov – November 22, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/bouncing-back-putin-s-shrunken-economy-lures-foreign-investors] Even before the U.S. presidential election raised hopes of warmer ties with the Kremlin, some big Western companies were betting Russia’s economy will soon come out of the deep freeze. Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars […]

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NEWSLINK Business New Europe: “Russian Markets Hit Record High On Trump Optimism”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s ruble denominated Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) index set a new all time high of 2061.68 on November 10 on the bounce back that followed the election of Donald Trump as US president. Trump is seen as good news for Russia that is fuelling hopes of a de-escalation in tensions between the countries. The previous MICEX high was set […]

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NEWSLINK bne Intellinews: “What does a Trump presidency mean for Russia?”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Finally, the most divisive and disruptive election in modern US history is over: Donald Trump will occupy the White House for at least the next four years, starting in late January. The question that many in Russia and those who have or are considering investing in Russia are asking is, what does a Trump president actually mean for Russia risk?” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “World Bank Improves Russia Economic Outlook, Sees 1.5 Percent GDP Growth in 2017” – Reuters

World Bank Building

… the World Bank said …. Russian gross domestic product will contract by 0.6 percent … oil prices are projected to recover to an average of $55 per barrel in 2017 [and] the Russian economy is expected to bottom out in the second half of this year. The World Bank sees it growing by 1.5 percent in 2017 and 1.7 […]

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Russia’s Oil Industry Is Making The Most Of A Weak Ruble; Record Oil Production and Capital Spending Supported by Favorable FX Rate

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – October 21, 2016) While Russian federal revenue from oil and natural gas production has declined significantly in response to low oil prices, oil and natural gas companies have actually increased investments or only seen modest declines, according to the EIA. In ruble terms, the Brent price has actually increased by 40 percent from 2010 levels, while decreasing in […]

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Exxon Has Lost Over $1 Billion From Russian Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – October 14, 2016) Exxon has turned into a collateral victim of the U.S. economic sanctions against Russia. So while supermajor BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley said earlier this week that he was “a little saddened” with the way the Deepwater Horizon movie has painted his company, Exxon’s Rex Tillerson has perhaps an even greater reason […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev and Ulyukayev at] The 30th session of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council in Russia

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev Before Gold Flag with Elaborate Design

(Government.ru – October 17, 2016) The participants discussed proposals to improve customs legislation and technical regulation, develop the banking and financial sectors, and increase investment in agriculture, the processing industry and pharmaceuticals production. Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks: The Foreign Investment Advisory Council, which was established in 1994, proved to be a good format in great demand and very useful for […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at ] Russia Calling! Investment Forum

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – October 12, 2016) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the eighth Russia Calling! Investment Forum organised by VTB Capital. This year’s theme is Maintaining Responsibility, Expanding Opportunities. Invitations to the forum’s plenary session have been sent to Russian Government members and heads of major international corporations and leading Russian companies, delegates from over 60 countries, including 550 investors […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Eastern Economic Forum (excepts)

Asia Map

(Kremlin.ru – September 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum. This year, representatives of 35 countries applied to attend the forum. In total, delegations from 56 countries are taking part. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Park Geun-hye, Mr Shinzo Abe, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Vladivostok, to the second Eastern […]

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Russian Stocks Climb to Fresh Record as Ruble Gains on Oil, Fed

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – September 5, 2016) Russian stocks climbed to a record for the second day in a row and the ruble rallied with bonds as oil advanced and investors speculated U.S. rates will stay low, fueling demand for higher-yielding assets. The Micex Index closed up 0.7 percent to 2,017.38 after piercing the 2,000-point level for […]

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Russia Default Risk Falls to Lowest Since August Crimea Flare-Up

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – September 1, 2016) The cost of insuring Russian debt using credit-default swaps fell to a three-week low as tensions with Ukraine eased, offering relief from mounting political risk that had weighed on assets last month. Five-year CDS contracts declined seven basis points this week to 219, the lowest since Aug. 10 when Russian […]

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Russia’s Ruble Shakes Off August Blues With First Gain in Decade

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov – August 31, 2016) The Russian ruble headed for its first gain in August in a decade as a jump in oil prices and high domestic rates helped lure investors hunting returns in riskier emerging-market assets. The currency of the world’s biggest energy exporter traded little changed at 65.24 against the dollar by 3:02 […]

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Stealing a Peek at Russian Economic Uptick Before It Happens

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – August 11, 2016) Prone to false starts since a crisis peaked last year, Russia’s economy is riding momentum that has it on the cusp of exiting the longest recession in two decades. As business sentiment perks up, leading indicators from demand for electricity to rail cargoes and container transport show the pulse of […]

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Vladimir Putin Is His Economy’s Worst Enemy

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – July 27, 2016 – Editorial) Russian President Vladimir Putin urgently needs to revive his country’s economy. His greatest obstacle will be himself. While Americans argue about the extent of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election, Putin is battling a recession at home. To that end, he has recently focused on the ruble’s exchange rate: A […]

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Putin Debt Binge Indulged While Russia Looks Good Next to Europe

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Vladimir Kuznetsov, Natasha Doff – July 20, 2016) No one’s complaining about record debt in Russia next year as an influx of foreign investors helps the government borrow its way out of recession. The Finance Ministry plans to quadruple domestic debt issuance to $20 billion in 2017 to fund a growing budget shortfall and avoid depleting […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects

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

(Kremlin.ru – July 13, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired the first meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Before the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects. Standing (from left to right): Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Sitting: Education and Science Minister Dmitry […]

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