Business community expects economic reforms in Russia after presidential vote – Gref

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) – The business community expects that Russia may begin extensive economic reforms after next year’s presidential elections and the preparatory stage is now underway, Sberbank of Russia (MOEX: SBER) CEO Herman Gref said in an interview on NTV television. “The expectations of business and, in general, the entire country is that such an extensive reform process, […]

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Central Bank analysts lower Russian GDP growth forecast in Q3-Q4 on weak industrial production data

Central Bank of Russia file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 6 (Interfax) – Central Bank analysts have lowered their forecast for Russian GDP growth in Q3 from 0.6% to 0.4%-0.5% on a quarterly basis excluding seasonality, the Central Bank’s Research and Forecasting Department said in its bulletin Talking Trends. The estimate for October-December 2017 was also lowered from 0.6% to 0.4%. “The main sources of the downward revision […]

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Russia Is an Emerging Superpower in Global Food Supply; Climate change is working against other regions but in favor of the Eurasian Grain Belt.

File Image, Map of Russian Wheat Production by Region, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – September 4, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Russia is often seen as a country that produces little that the world wants except energy commodities. The oil export dependence looks like a major time […]

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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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Russians worry most about price rise, poverty, unemployment – poll

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MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – Price rise still tops the list of social problems in the eyes of Russians, although its topically has declined over recent years, from 78% in 2015 to 61% now, Levada Analytical Center told Interfax. The other two of the top three problems are poverty and massive destitution (45%), and growing unemployment, corruption and bribery (33%). […]

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Interfax: Russian GDP could grow more than 2% in Aug, 2017 – Oreshkin

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PARIS. Aug 29 (Interfax) – Russian GDP growth could quicken to more than 2% in August, Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin told reporters in Paris. The economy could also grow more than 2% for 2017 as a whole, he said following a meeting with French business leaders. “We expect growth [year-on-year GDP growth] will return to more than 2% as […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian economy boss: sanctions no longer bite” – AP

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Maxim Oreshkin … [said that] the Russian economy is on track to grow at least 2 percent this year. That would be a first after 2014, when the economy sank into recession driven by sinking oil prices and sanctions over Russian actions in Ukraine. … he said, ‘we see more willingness on the Asian side to work with us.’ He wouldn’t […]

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Interfax: Moscow press review for August 24, 2017 [excerpt][re: economy]

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MOSCOW. Aug 24 (Interfax) – The following is a digest of Moscow newspapers published on August 24. Interfax does not accept liability for information in these stories. POLITICS & ECONOMICS Given the protracted economic crisis and falling incomes, Russians are increasingly seeking work in the shadow economy. Since 2016, the share of Russians who have at least occasionally worked unofficially […]

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Piketty Zeroes In on Putin’s Pain Point; The West should stop relying on sanctions and instead target Russia’s massive offshore wealth.

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – August 14, 2017) After alerting the Western world to the alarming rise of inequality, Thomas Piketty has turned his attention to Russia. To someone who has lived through Russia’s transition from Communism to crony capitalism, his take on that transition reveals deep flaws in his overall methodology — but some of his conclusions […]

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Econ Min approves creation of priority development areas in 11 mono-cities

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

St. Petersburg. Aug 11 (Interfax) – The Russian Economic Development Ministry has approved the creation of priority development areas (PDA) in 11 mono-cities – cities that are predominantly dependant on one industry or factory – in nine constituent members of the Russian Federation, the minstry’s press service said. The Economic Development Ministry commission has approved the creation of PDAs in […]

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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: “Russia to become a net borrower for first time in a decade” – bne Intellinews

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“… Russia has been dipping into its rainy day Reserve Fund to cover the federal budget deficit but this fund is due to run out of money sometime next year. Now the government is actively preparing to dip into its other sovereign fund, the National Welfare Fund, that was set up to meet future pension payments, but now will be […]

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NEWSWATCH: “IMF says Russia’s economy is gradually recovering” – bne Intellinews

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“The IMF projects real growth of GDP in Russia at the level of 1.4% in 2017 …. According to the World Bank, the Russian economy will grow by 1.3% in 2017, while Russia’s economic development ministry put the figure at 2%. … noticeably in the last two months … both real disposable incomes and construction activity [have been] improving. …” Click […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Crawls Back To Life, But Locals Feel Uneasy” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

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“Russia’s economy surely is better than it was a year ago. But, tell that to the Russians. … 45% of them believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ despite a nice 3.1% recovery in economic growth over the last 12 months ending in May, according to … VTsIOM…. Higher food prices and declining savings were the biggest concerns …. Thanks to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Half of Russians see hardest crisis times still ahead” –  bne Intellinews

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“… Almost half of Russians (45%) believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ for them as the crisis unwinds, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM).   Russia’s economy is recovering from its two-year recession and GDP growth is gathering momentum, putting in 3.1% growth year-on-year in May. Industrial production is recovering too, up […]

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Russia Ranked Among Worst Countries to Be a Pensioner

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 20, 2017) Russia has staked its claim as one of the five worst countries in the world for pensioners, according to a new report. The Natixis Global Retirement Index ranks Russia 40th out of 43 countries worldwide – below Turkey, China, and Mexico. Only Brazil, Greece, and India have an even lower score. Russia […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Is Vladimir Putin’s big collapse coming soon? Author Richard Lourie talks about how Putin’s failure to wean Russia off oil will destroy the nation’s economy” – Salon/ Richard Lourie / Carrie Sheffield

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

(Salon – July 18, 2017 – from: salon.com/2017/07/18/watch-is-vladimir-putins-big-collapse-coming-soon/) “Salon Talks sat down with Richard Lourie to discuss his book, “Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash.” Lourie argues that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will collapse, just as Imperial Russia did in 1917 and the Soviet Union did in 1991. He cites the Russian president’s failure to move the nation’s economy from […]

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NEWSLINK: “Rising prices and falling savings are Russians’ biggest fears” – bne Intellinews

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“Rising prices and falling savings are currently Russians’ biggest fears, according to the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM). … Mounting food prices and declining savings topped the ranking of Russians’ fears in the middle of this year. However, the fears of a military conflict with the west has also been rising steadily, the poll found, reports […]

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Russia Caught Between Economic Decline and Potentially Explosive Demographic Change

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 5, 2017) Russia’s economic development ministry says that the country’s GDP growth will be approximately half of one percent lower each year because of projected declines in the number of workers in Russia in the coming decades, a decline that the ministry says must be fought by increasing immigration. But any […]

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Kremlin’s Claims about Economic Growth Rest on Three Weak Reeds, Russian Experts Say

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 29, 2017) Independent Russian economists say that claims by Moscow officials concerning the supposed growth in Russia’s GDP do not correspond to reality, Russian experts say. Instead, they reflect some statistical sleight of hand, the low base from which any change is calculated, and even the anomalously cold weather of recent […]

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Russia Sticks to Conservative $40 Oil Forecast for 2018 Budget

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 29, 2017) The Russian government is sticking to its conservative assumptions for oil prices as it drafts the budget for the next three years, relying mainly on domestic borrowing to finance the deficit in order to preserve its rainy-day funds. Oil prices are running above the government’s $40-a-barrel forecast, but growing supply […]

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Behind Brave Face on Sanctions, Russia Is Already Adjusting

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 23, 2017) They are only discussed. They may not even be implemented. But the new sanctions under consideration in the U.S. Congress have already become a factor the Bank of Russia can’t ignore. While Governor Elvira Nabiullina dismissed sanctions as having little impact on Russia, the looming threat of wider measures was […]

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Unemployment ranges from 1.5% in Moscow to 27.2% in Ingushetia – Rosstat

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. June 23 (Interfax) – Russian unemployment in May continued to vary widely by federal district, when the highest rate 3.4 times greater than the lowest, and by region, where the highest was 18 times greater than the lowest, Rosstat reported. Unemployment declined to 5.2% in May from 5.3% in April, 5.4% in March and 5.6% in February and January. […]

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Russians Aren’t Blowing Bigger Wages in Boon to Central Bank

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 21, 2017) There’s less than meets the eye to Russia’s consumer recovery. While real wages grew at the same pace of 3.7 percent in April and May, the most in over three years, retail sales only crawled just above zero after a record 27 months of contraction. The Bank of Russia expects […]

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Russia Just Past Crisis, But Already Up Against Growth Limit

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – June 5 2017) The debate two years ago at President Vladimir Putin’s annual investment showcase in St. Petersburg centered on the direction Russia would take as it moved past the turbulence of oil’s collapse. This time the consensus is that the economy is running aground. Halfway through what’s likely to be the first […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Igor Shuvalov: Future of Russia Lies in Consolidation and Progress” – Valdai/ Igor Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

“The wealth of Russia is based not only on securing the needs of the domestic market, but primarily on the openness, Igor Shuvalov told journalists at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. …”

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NEWSLINK: “How the Trump administration’s secret efforts to ease Russia sanctions fell short” – Yahoo News/ Michael Isikoff

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“In the early weeks of the Trump administration, former Obama administration officials and State Department staffers fought an intense, behind-the-scenes battle to head off efforts by incoming officials to normalize relations with Russia, according to multiple sources familiar with the events. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Beyond the Recession, More Problems Await Russia” – Strafor

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“As the Russian economy slowly pulls out of recession, low oil prices will keep it stagnant for years to come. Nonetheless, the recovery, and the return of foreign investment, will alleviate some of the Kremlin’s concerns about the economic sanctions against it.  The Russian government, meanwhile, will grow increasingly worried about the people’s economic hardships as gubernatorial and presidential elections approach. […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “U.S. shale, trade and sanctions worry Russian Finance minister as economy gets back on track” – CNBC/ Geoff Cutmore, Alexandra Gibbs

Anton Siluanov file photo

[Scroll down for embedded video] “… Following last week’s decision by oil producers to extend output cuts by nine months to March 2018, Siluanov told CNBC that OPEC’s decisions would give opportunity [sic] for prices to stay at present levels, but that both producers and the ministry had to be on alert for any market changes. …” ‘On the one […]

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A New Threat to the Kremlin: Russians’ Incomes Not Keeping Pace with Their Expectations

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 25, 2017) In every federal district except the Far East, Russians say they need more money for “a normal life” than their current incomes, a situation that reflects stagnating wages and salaries and rising prices and one, the editors of Nezavisimaya Gazeta say, that represents an increasingly serious political threat to […]

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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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IMF Sees Russian Economy Moving Out Of Recession, Inflation Slowing

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(©2017 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-imf-ecomomy-recession/28498056.html – May 19, 2017) The International Monetary Fund said Russia’s economy will rebound this year after a two-year recession and inflation should slow to the central bank’s target amid diminished short-term risks from volatile oil prices and financial markets. Russia’s economy should expand 1.4 percent this year, the Washington-based IMF said on May […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economy is recovering well” – CNN

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“[Russia] is recovering nicely from a recession and should see economic growth of 1.4% this year, according to [the IMF] … Russia is heavily dependent on oil exports and was hit hard when crude prices started to crash in 2014. Economic sanctions imposed by Western governments as punishment for Russia taking control of Ukraine’s Crimea region dealt the economy another blow. […]

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Interfax: EBRD financials “masking” negative trends, creating risk of rating downgrade, recapitalization – Oreshkin

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NICOSIA. May 10 (Interfax) – The financials of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), while formally showing positive figures, are “masking” a number of negative trends and management assumptions, and continuing the current approach to the EBRD’s activities could lead to a downgrade of its ratings and the need for recapitalization, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said […]

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Half of Russians Consider Themselves To Be Poor, Study Finds

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 4, 2017) Half of Russians believe that they are poor – even though under 15 percent officially qualify as impoverished, a new study has concluded. Researchers at Russia’s Higher School of Economics found that 50.4 percent of Russians think that they are living in poverty. That number is three times higher than the actual […]

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Russians Remain Too Atomized and Lacking in Empathy to Make a Revolution, Kirillova Says

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 2, 2017) Many nations facing the difficulties #Russians now are would #revolutionary change [sic], but Russians are unlikely to do so, Kseniya Kirillova says, because they remain far too atomized and far too lacking in empathy to look beyond their immediate personal problems and identify with the problems of others. The […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia and the “Resource Curse”: When the Kremlin’s Policy is Counterproductive for the Economy” – Carnegie Moscow Center/Forbes.ru/ ANDREY MOVCHAN, PAVEL KOSHKIN)

Oil Well file photo

“How can Russia overcome the “resource curse”? What countries should be an example for Moscow? What consequences can the Russian flawed economic policy lead to? Why could the authorities’ attempts to save their power by any means be dangerous for economic growth? Andrey Movchan, the director of the Economic Policy Pogram at the Carnegie Moscow Center, sheds light on these […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia and the “Resource Curse”: When the Kremlin’s Policy is Counterproductive for the Economy” – Carnegie Moscow Center/ Forbes.ru/ ANDREY MOVCHAN, PAVEL KOSHKIN)

Oil Well file photo

“How can Russia overcome the ‘resource curse’? What countries should be an example for Moscow? What consequences can the Russian flawed economic policy lead to? Why could the authorities’ attempts to save their power by any means be dangerous for economic growth? Andrey Movchan, the director of the Economic Policy Pogram at the Carnegie Moscow Center, sheds light on these […]

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Kudrin sees sanctions as primarily negative for Russian economy

Alexei Kudrin file photo

KRASNOYARSK. April 21 (Interfax) – Sanctions are having a negative impact on the Russian economy, the chairman of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. “We are sooner losing position on the global market. The problem is not only related to the drop in oil prices and sanctions. Sanctions are in general very sensitive and […]

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In Annual Report, Medvedev Says Russian Economy Avoided Catastrophe

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 19, 2017) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has promised not to raise taxes in 2017 and vowed to consider indexing retirement payments for working pensioners, delivering a moderately upbeat annual report on the troubled economy. Addressing the lower house of parliament on April 19, Medvedev said the Russian economy had avoided “catastrophe” despite low world […]

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Government forecast for annual GDP growth of 1.5% in 2018-2020 does not meet president’s goal – Belousov

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MOSCOW. April 17 (Interfax) – The government’s forecast for Russian GDP growth in 2018-2020 of 1.5% a year under the baseline scenario does not meet the goal set by the president of achieving growth higher than the global average in 2019-2020, presidential aide Alexander Belousov told journalists. The government forecast for 2% GDP growth in 2017 is “the maximum possible […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Mr Medvedev briefed Vladimir Putin on the key points of the report on the Government’s work in 2016, which will be presented to the State Duma on April 19. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Medvedev, on April 19 you will present to the State Duma the Government’s report on its work last year. What will you be presenting? What […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russia’s economy needs a recipe for growth; The country’s economy has left the recession, but growth rates are still low. Will Russia be able to return to the high pre-crisis indicators?”

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – SERGEI ALEXASHENKO, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 13, 2017) The author is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution (Washington). In 1993-1998 he was deputy finance minister and deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. The Russian economy has hauled itself out of the recession – Rosstat, Russia’s statistics agency, the Economy Ministry, […]

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Fixing Russia’s Growth for Economists Takes One Ruble at a Time

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Andre Tartar – April 9, 2017) The ruble’s “serious weakening,” as forecast by Russia’s Economy Ministry, may be seriously good for growth. While the authorities in Russia have wavered this year over the benefits and disadvantages to the economy of a strong exchange rate, analysts are coming down on the side of depreciation. A […]

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Russian Economy Crawled to Growth With Recession in Rearview

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 31, 2017) Russia’s economy returned to growth at the end of 2016, turning the page on seven consecutive quarters of contraction that laid waste to the middle class after oil prices crashed. Gross domestic product gained 0.3 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter after a decline of 0.4 percent […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN’S ECONOMY IS SO BAD, MANY RUSSIANS CAN’T AFFORD NEW SHOES” – Newsweek

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“To see the state of Vladimir Putin’s economy, look down at Russians’ feet. The weakening ruble is making Russians more cautious about their purchases, and annual shoe sales across the country have dropped in recent months as Russians wait for their footwear to completely wear out before buying new ones ….”

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This Recovery Isn’t for Everyone as Inequality Reshapes Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 22, 2017) A snapshot of Russia’s consumer welfare painted a picture of a country increasingly cleaved by inequality. A surprise deterioration of retail sales in February, alongside an unexpected plunge in real disposable incomes, is adding to evidence of what Morgan Stanley is calling an “uneven consumer recovery” driven by rising disparity […]

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Russians Happier Than They Look, UN Study Shows

UN Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 20, 2017) Don’t be misled by those grumpy faces on the Moscow metro: Russia is the 49th happiest place on Earth and it is becoming happier, a new study has found. The United Nation’s yearly World Happiness Report measures “subjective well-being” in 155 countries along criteria such as GDP per capita and life expectancy, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Plenary session of Congress of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

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(Kremlin.ru – March 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin addressed a plenary session of the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The congress is being held as part of the X Russian Business Week (RBW) on March 13-17, hosted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The RBW participants coordinate proposals on key areas of interaction between the […]

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