IMF: Russian Economy Will Contract 0.6 Percent in 2016, Recover In 2017

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – November 30, 2016) The International Monetary Fund said the Russian economy should continue to contract this year, with gross domestic product dropping 0.6 percent, but says it will begin recovering in 2017. The projections from the Washington-based IMF, issued November 29 after a team visited Moscow earlier this month, were roughly in line with other Russian […]

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Russia’s Central Bank Wants You to Believe; Governor Elvira Nabiullina has introduced her own version of forward guidance. The results are mixed.

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – November 29, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-29/russia-s-central-bank-wants-you-to-believe] When central bankers start making predictions about what they’re going to do in the future, reality often has other plans. Just ask Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, or Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Recent attempts at so-called “forward guidance” — telling the public how interest rates […]

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Russia Is Finally Making Headway In Its Pivot East

Asia Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – November 22, 2016) Russia’s long planned pivot east found itself unexpectedly wrong-footed in early 2014, following the Crimean referendum and subsequent western rebuke. The global collapse of oil prices – and that of the ruble – later that same year further eroded Russia’s leverage in Asia. Fast forward to the present and we’ve seen substantially […]

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Putin Optimistic About OPEC Deal, Russia Is Ready to Freeze

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – November 21, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sees no obstacles to an OPEC agreement this month after oil exporters made major progress in overcoming differences as he reaffirmed Russia is willing to freeze crude output at current levels. “Whether an agreement will be reached, I can’t say 100 percent, but there’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian bribery probe widens amid reports of Kremlin power struggle” – Washington Post/David Filipov

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Russia’s state-run news agency reported … more officials could be targeted in the corruption probe that has already led to the arrest of the … economic development minister. Other news reports … name[d] names, all of them of officials close to … Medvedev, leader of the so-called liberals, who tend to favor a smaller state role in society and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Fate of Russia’s Liberals” – Stratfor

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

Russia’s economic and political problems are piling up, and they may be putting members of the country’s more liberal circles at risk. In the most high-profile arrest to be made in post-Soviet Russia – and arguably, since the 1950s – Economic Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was detained … on charges of bribery and extortion. … Russian authorities [said] Ulyukayev received $2 […]

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The Loyalty of Fear; Putin sends a message to the elite with the arrest of Russia’s economic development minister

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Mikhail Fishman – November 16, 2016) It was an awkward, dramatic national moment for Russia: a bonafide minister of the federal government standing in court as the defendant, facing corruption charges and promising his cooperation to prosecutors, pleading to be released on bail. The hearing ended slightly anticlimactically, with a decision to place […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s oil output in October hits new post-Soviet era high” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Russia’s oil output set a new post-Soviet era record high in October, rising 0.1 percent from September to 11.2 million barrels per day (bpd), energy ministry data showed …. underscor[ing] the difficulty the government could have in freezing output levels as part of a global pact with other top producers [to impact prices] …. Oil and gas sales account for […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: “Factbox: How Russia is ramping up its oil output in 2016-2017”

Oil Well file photo

… Putin, who has pledged to join a global pact to cap oil output, gave the green light on Monday to start production at a new Caspian Sea field owned by country’s No.2 oil producer Lukoil, the second launch in a week. Russian oil production is expected to reach 547 million tonnes this year (10.95 million barrels per day), rising […]

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Russian oil reserves reach 29.4 billion tonnes since Jan 2015, gas reserves – 70.3 trillion cu m

Gas Flame file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – Russian ABC1+C2 oil reserves increased 0.7% to 29.4 billion tonnes in the period from January 1, 2015 through September 1, 2016, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in materials. Reserves in the unallocated fund totaled 1.8 billion tonnes, while allocated reserves totaled 27.6 billion tonnes. ABC1+C2 gas reserves reached 70.3 trillion cubic meters as […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s renewed might rests on weak economic foundations. Putin bravado does not extend to modernisation of the economy” – Financial Times/Neil Buckley

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… the gap between the image … Putin portrayed … and the reality was exposed by a sobering assessment of Russia’s economy by another senior official … further emphasised by a draft budget … envisaging a 27 per cent cut in defence spending …. the official … made it clear how Russia’s ambitions clash with its capabilities. … western sanctions […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian oil production reached post-Soviet high. Moody’s says profitability of Russian energy companies will be robust” – UPI

Oil Well file photo

A ratings agency assessing the profitability of Russian energy companies said oil production for September reached a post-Soviet high. … Sanctions and lower crude oil prices put pressure on the Russian economy. Moody’s said … most Russian energy companies were shielded by a look toward the domestic market and state-controlled banks. … Meeting with … Putin this week, … Medvedev […]

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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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Russia Shifts Focus From Oil To Agriculture

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Michael McDonald – October 13, 2016) Michael MaDonald is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. Russia’s biggest industry has been oil production historically, but the country appears to be trying to diversify that by putting more emphasis on agriculture. The former soviet state has been relying on […]

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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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Wikileak: Clinton Told Oil Majors Environmentalism Is Russian Hoax

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Oilprice.com – Erwin Cifuentes – October 10, 2016) In 2014, United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton purportedly accused the Russians of running fake anti-fracking and environmentalist groups who were trying to upend major projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. According to Sputnik International, #Wikileaks reportedly uncovered a paid-for speech made in 2014 by the former Secretary of State in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] World Energy Congress in Istanbul

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

(Kremlin.ru – October 10, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in a special session of the World Energy Congress. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Erdogan, presidents and colleagues, Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to address such an authoritative international forum. I believe that in the current complicated global economic situation, […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Today/RT: “Rosneft boss says no to output freeze or cut”

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“The man in charge of Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft is skeptical about a global crude production freeze or cut, despite President Putin’s pledge to cooperate with OPEC.”

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NEWSWATCH: “Oil hits one-year high as Russia ready to join output caps” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

Oil prices jumped as much as 3 percent on Monday, with Brent hitting a one-year high, after Russia said it was ready to join OPEC in curbing crude output and Algeria called for similar commitments from other non-OPEC producers. … “Russia is ready to join the joint measures to cap production and is calling for other oil exporters to join,” […]

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Russian economy’s mono-product era could end in 2028-2030 – Gref

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) – The Russian economy might leave its mono-product era behind in 2028-2030, Herman Gref, the head of Sberbank (MOEX: SBER), said. “When might this mono-product era potentially end? In 2028-2030. The general feeling is and all the trends we have today indicate that there won’t be a repeat of the commodities super-cycle. We need to be […]

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Former Prime Minister to Become Putin’s Right-Hand Man

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman – September 29, 2016) Boris Yeltsin reportedly first spotted Sergei Kiriyenko, then a young businessman from Nizhny Novgorod, during a boat trip on the Volga River in July 1994. Nearly four years later, Yeltsin would shock the political establishment by appointing him prime minister. Plucked from relative obscurity at the age of just […]

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Russia Smashes Post-Soviet Oil Supply Record as OPEC Weighs Curb

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Julian Lee, and Dina Khrennikova – September 28, 2016) Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, is on course to pump a post-Soviet record amount of oil in September, adding as much as 400,000 barrels a day to the country’s production. The output surge comes as OPEC nations meet in Algeria, with discussions to curb […]

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Russia Says Oil Output Freeze Not Needed With Price Near $50

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Stephen Bierman – September 1, 2016) Russia sees no need for talks with other major oil exporters on freezing output with prices at around $50 a barrel, according to the Energy Ministry in Moscow. If prices fall, then Russia will consider resuming discussions, the ministry’s press service cited Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying. […]

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

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(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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Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development Pins Hopes on Rising Oil Prices

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 30, 2016) Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has announced a new “baseline plus” plan for the Russian economy, despite concerns that the country’s original economic strategy remains unbalanced, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. While the country’s current baseline plan is formed on the price of oil remaining stable at $40 per barrel for […]

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Why Arctic Oil Is Crucial For Russia’s Future

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – August 23, 2016) The Arctic – a cold wasteland that has shattered the expansion dreams of many an oil company by proving to be too difficult and too expensive to tackle. And, of course, Arctic exploration is the target of major environmentalist opposition to any intervention in this wasteland that is in fact home to […]

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Goldman Sees Russian Oil Output Topping Soviet Record by 2018

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – July 20, 2016) Russia’s oil output will exceed the former Soviet record set almost 30 years ago by the end of 2018 as low-cost fields allow producers to defy the slump in prices, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Production will climb by 590,000 barrels a day over the next three years to […]

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Putin Debt Binge Indulged While Russia Looks Good Next to Europe

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(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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Oil Must Go to $40 and Stay There to Buy Russia Some Reforms

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 18, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/oil-must-go-to-40-and-stay-there-to-buy-russia-reforms-at-last] At an oil price of $40 or below, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a flat income tax, built a sovereign wealth fund and delivered speeches to the Bundestag in German. When it was over $100, he fought two wars with neighbors and splashed over $40 […]

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Putin Isn’t About to Let Go of the Crown Jewels After Alrosa

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andrey Biryukov – July 12, 2016) Hatched in harsh economic times, Russia’s latest wave of privatization is off to a mixed start, and a sequel is by no means guaranteed. The sale of a 10.9 percent stake in Alrosa PJSC was the biggest divestment of a state asset since the government reduced its stake […]

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Russia’s Savior From Oil’s Drop Is Now Snuffing Out Recovery

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – July 6, 2016) Russia is finding the flip side of a flexible currency less and less appealing. A free-floating ruble, its antidote to the crash in oil prices, is now working against an economy mired in the second year of recession. As crude soared by more than a third in March and April, […]

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Russian Oil Exports Set for Record as Europe Competition Grows

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman and Dina Khrennikova – July 3, 2016) Russian crude exports are on track to set a record this year, which is intensifying competition in Europe as Iran boosts shipments to the region. Exports rose 4.9 percent to 5.55 million barrels a day in the first half of the year from the same period in […]

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Russia Seeks to Reassure Over Brexit Volatility

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

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Daniel Schearf – June 29, 2016) As Britain and Europe struggle to come to terms with the British vote in favor of leaving the European Union, financial markets are roiling across the globe, including in Russia. Even before the vote for a British EU exit, the head of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, warned that […]

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Sechin predicts oil price to reach $50-55 per barrel by end of 2016, $65 per barrel by end of 2017

Igor Sechin file photo

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) – Oil prices will reach the levels of $50-55 per barrel by the end of 2016 and $65 per barrel by the end of 2017, Rosneft (MOEX: ROSN) CEO Igor Sechin said during an interview with Rossiya-24 television. “The current volatility will continue. We think that by the end of the year we will stably reach […]

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Putin Said to Weigh $11 Billion Rosneft Sale to China, India

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – June 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin is considering selling part of Russia’s corporate crown jewels to China and India as the president struggles to meet spending commitments before his possible re-election bid in less than two years. Russia has been seeking buyers for 19.5 percent of state oil champion Rosneft OJSC and […]

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Investments in Russia’s economy declining both because of structural problems, oil price drop – Putin

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ST. PETERSBURG. June 18 (Interfax) – A decline in investments in Russia’s economy can be explained by both the lower oil prices and investors’ worries about problems in Russia’s economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It’s both this and that,” Putin said while meeting with top managers of international news agencies in St. Petersburg on Friday, when asked whether the […]

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Russian Oil Producers Care More About Rubles Than Barrels

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – June 16, 2016) For Russian oil companies, the value of the ruble matters more than the price of a barrel. While OPEC celebrates the rebound in crude, Rosneft OJSC and Lukoil PJSC must keep one eye on the stronger Russian currency. That’s because the ruble’s 12 percent gain this year against the dollar […]

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International Economic Forum opens in St. Petersburg

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Russian observers expect dialogue and possible progress on the softening of EU sanctions against Russia from the forum, as well as Gazprom and Shell’s joint launch of an enormous LNG plant in Russia’s northwest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 16, 2016) Leading world economists have gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum […]

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The Kremlin’s Arctic Plans: More Gutted than Grand

Arctic Map

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Sergei Medvedev, Professor of Politics; Deputy Dean for International Affairs Higher School of Economics, Moscow – June 7, 2016) Article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/memo/kremlin-arctic-plans-more-gutted-grand Over the past decade, Russia has launched a diplomatic and symbolic offensive in the Arctic, supported by increased military activity, grandiose economic plans, and showy assertions of sovereignty. Russian officials have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia expects economic growth in a year; Ministers warned early this year a return to $50 per barrel oil could create headwinds – UPI

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

It may be another year before the Russian economy recovers from deep recession and returns to growth, the country’s economic development minister said. With a 3.7 percent decline in gross domestic product last year … Ulyukayev said the country was in a deep recession. The Russian Central Bank, however, said earlier this week that inflation was stabilizing and the economy […]

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Putin Should Heed This Russian’s Warning on Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 20, 2016) [Chart here bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-05-20/petr-aven-warns-about-the-dangers-of-oil-dependency] Oil prices follow cycles, and so does the thinking about the future of oil-producing countries. This week, Russian billionaire Petr Aven and two Moscow economists published an article dissecting what they call the “twilight of the petrostate” which echoes the concerns of the Saudi Arabian elite — […]

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Russia eyes $12.6 billion windfall from privatization of state companies

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

In 2016 the government intends to sell a part of the shares in its large raw commodity companies. The buyers can be foreign investors, but on certain conditions. It has already been announced that shares in Russia’s largest diamond mining company, Alrosa, will be sold through the Moscow Stock Exchange. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH […]

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Russia Retools After Crash as Post-Oil Economy Takes Shape

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – May 18, 2016) Call it a stealth overhaul. With none of the fanfare that greeted Saudi Arabia’s plan for the post-oil era, the Russian economy is quietly getting its biggest makeover under President Vladimir Putin. A trail left by crude’s collapse has turned up some unlikely survivors and even industries that found a […]

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