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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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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NEWSWATCH: “Rouble’s revival gives Russia an unexpected headache” – AFP

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It was a step that seemed unimaginable a year ago: the Russian authorities stepping in to stop the country’s currency from getting too strong. … The finance ministry said Putin himself had decided that the surplus oil revenue would not be used for ‘additional spending’ but would go towards buying foreign currencies to bolster the country’s depleted reserve funds. … […]

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Russia Locks In on What’s Wrong With Ruble During Oil Frenzy

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – January 23, 2017) Untethering the #ruble helped #Russia ride out the biggest #oil downturn in a generation. But it’s left the world’s biggest energy exporter vulnerable to greater volatility in crude prices as #OPEC pushes output cuts. To address that, the Bank of Russia is preparing to wade back into the currency market […]

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Dollar Falls to Under 60 Rubles for the First Time Since July 2015

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 5, 2017) As most Russians enjoy a week-long holiday vacation, the country’s ailing currency is also having a happy new year. Today, during trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange, the U.S. Dollar’s value fell to less than 60 rubles for the first time since 2015, the RBC newspaper reported. At 2:19 p.m. Moscow time, […]

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Russian Ruble Ended 2016 As Second Best Emerging Market Performer

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – January 4, 2017) The Russian ruble continued to make gains against the euro and U.S. dollar in the first two days of trading in 2017 after ending last year as the second-best performer among emerging market currencies. The ruble ended trading in Moscow at 60.51 to the dollar and 62.76 to the euro on January 3. […]

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Cheapest Labor Since Tsars Ruled Russia a Draw for Samsung, Ikea

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Ilya Khrennikov – November 16, 2016) Made in Russia and coming soon to a store shelf near you: washing machines, chewing gum and possibly much else. A combination of the country’s worst currency crisis since 1998 and an unprecedented slide in real wages for most of the past two years has resulted in salaries […]

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

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“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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Putin Wonders If Trump Win Might Just Be Too Good to Be True

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 10, 2016) It didn’t take long for Russia to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump. Lawmakers burst into applause when Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton was announced in the country’s parliament Wednesday. Minutes later, President Vladimir #Putin telegraphed his congratulations to the political neophyte who had gushed with admiration […]

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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’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 Economy at Risk of Delayed Recovery After Crimea Flareup

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andre Tartar, Anna Andrianova – August 28, 2016) The recent flare up over Crimea may have just delayed Russia’s economic recovery. After President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of plotting terrorist attacks on the Black Sea peninsula this month, the chance that Western countries will scrap economic sanctions against Russia has declined, according to a Bloomberg survey […]

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

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(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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Why Hedge Funds Are Loading Up on Rubles

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – April 10, 2016) Managers of some of the best-performing funds from Berlin to New York are buying Russian ruble assets as the currency has rebounded 23 percent from a record low. Stuart Sclater-Booth, who helps oversee more than $40 billion at Stone Harbor Investment Partners, turned overweight on the ruble in mid-February and […]

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Russian Inflation Slows More Than Forecast as Ruble Shock Fades

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 5, 2016) Russian inflation decelerated to the slowest pace in almost two years as withering consumer demand continues to weigh on prices and stronger oil propels a rally in the ruble. Consumer-price growth eased to 7.3 percent from a year earlier in March, compared with 8.1 percent in February, the Federal Statistics […]

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Russia’s Economy Is Tanking, So Why Is Putin Smiling?

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Andrianova – February 29, 2016) With Russia mired in the longest recession in two decades, there hasn’t been a lot of good economic news lately. But there’s one indicator that’s looking up, and it’s the one that matters most to Vladimir Putin: His hard-currency reserves. The central bank held $379 billion in foreign […]

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Weak Ruble Draws Foreign Tourists to Russia for Summer Vacations

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 18, 2016) The number of foreign tourists booking summer vacations in Russia has risen by 30 percent amid the weakening of the ruble, the Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday, citing a study by the Momondo online reservation system. Demand for trips to Russia during the summer months among German travelers – who made the most […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Mortgages vs. pensions and blasts from the past”

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BNE covers the impact of the Russian economic crisis on mortgage holders, and resulting unrest. Russia is in a painful place and freeing the ruble in November last year may be acting as a very effective shock absorber in the face of plummeting oil prices, but it also means that the brunt of the pain is being borne by the […]

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Can Russia Be More Miserable? Judging by Oil, the Answer Is Yes

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Combining inflation and unemployment, Russia is among the world’s unhappiest economies (Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Popina – February 4, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-04/can-russia-be-more-miserable-judging-by-oil-the-answer-is-yes] The sinking price of crude has Russia hostage over a barrel of oil. For an inkling of how unhappy everyday Russians have gotten as Brent crude heads further south, take a look at the Misery Index […]

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As Ruble Nosedives, Russians Are Priced Out Of Live-Saving Western Treatment

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – February 1, 2016) As the ruble continues its catastrophic tumble, hitting another historic low last month, the pain is being felt keenly across Russia. Among those worst hit are patients in need of urgent surgery abroad or other life-saving treatment billed in foreign currencies. “It all started with a bad cough and a […]

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The Upside of a Down Ruble

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 29, 2016) President Vladimir Putin chose an unfortunate time to trumpet the “additional opportunities” for Russian companies arising from a weaker ruble. As he spoke to delegates at a business forum on Jan. 20, the Russian currency was gyrating wildly. The next day it plummeted to its lowest level in recent […]

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Russia’s Great Shift Downward; Putin has shown little interest in changing the economic model.

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – January 28, 2016) For Russia’s battered economy, 2016 already looks miserable. The ruble has slumped to record lows as oil prices have fallen 11 percent since Jan. 1, to around $30 a barrel. The government, which gets nearly half its revenue from oil and gas, is scrambling to plug a 1.5 trillion-ruble ($19.2 […]

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RBTH: Investors could benefit from Russia’s economic turmoil

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

As the Russian economy hits hard times, with business incomes falling, government spending facing cuts and the ruble losing value, RBTH spoke to Sergei Katyrin, president of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to find out how foreign companies are enduring the current “perfect storm” for business. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ILYA KROL, RBTH – January 28, […]

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Facing Oil Price Plunge, Russia Considers Fire Sale of State Companies

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 22, 2016) Russian officials are touting a new wave of privatization to fill the hole in the government’s finances caused by the slumping oil price. With the cost of crude falling toward $30 per barrel early in the year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced that 1 trillion rubles ($12.5 billion) could […]

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Russian Economy Killers: Oil and Sanctions

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(Voice of America – Bernard Shusman – January 6, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin gets a bad report card, even a failing grade, for his handling of the economic crisis in his country, according to 27 percent of analysts who participated in a major survey conducted by Bloomberg Business. These are hard times in Russia, with the collapse in oil […]

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Eight Shades of Crisis – Russia’s Year of Economic Nightmares

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – December 26, 2015) [Charts here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/8-shades-of-crisis—russias-year-of-economic-nightmares/553703.html] Imagine Russia as a combustion engine. Oil and gas pumped from its vast territories wash through the economy as taxes, government spending and investment. Foreign currency from oil and gas sales is used to fund imported equipment and products on shop shelves. Cash from the energy […]

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RBTH: Ruble rollercoaster: How Russia was shortchanged in 2015

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National currency lost half its value in the space of a year (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – December 23, 2015) The ruble has lost half its value in a span of just over a year. Since November 2014, foreign exchange value has been unregulated by the Russian Central Bank. Experts are divided in their […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Sergei Alexashenko: “Russia’s Economy Slows Amid Investment Woes”

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Writing in The Moscow Times, Sergei Alexashenko assesses trends in the Russian economy and some of the factors impacting them. Russia’s economy is faring poorly …. Gross domestic product has swung back to a level last seen in the first of 2008 and the economy has essentially stagnated over the last seven years. * * * The situation in Russia is not […]

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NEWSWATCH CNN: “Russia’s middle class: We don’t blame Putin.”

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CNN reports on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political standing and the reaction by the Russian citizenry to the impact of sanctions, embargoes and economic downturn. Russia’s middle class has had a tough time recently, but they aren’t blaming … Putin for it. [In addition to restrictions on certain travel and imports] … The ruble has lost more than half its […]

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Ruble Sinks to New Lows As Oil Prices Plummet

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 8, 2015) The Russian ruble has continued its slide to dramatic lows, falling to 69 against the U.S. dollar on Monday for the first time since September, according to news reports. The euro, too, reached a two-month high, climbing to 75 rubles on Monday evening, with Russian analysts linking the ruble’s downward spiral to […]

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Debt repayment falters as ruble stays unsteady

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

Amid continuously falling incomes, debt help groups thrive as Russians turn to different solutions to repay loans. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – December 2, 2015) In the past year, arrears on loans have reached record levels. Borrowers are finding it more difficult to repay their loans due to the steep devaluation of the ruble […]

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Why is Russia’s Central Bank planning to print 1 trillion rubles? The regulator intends to inject $15 billion of cash into circulation

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – November 18, 2015) Russia’s Central Bank is to inject 1 trillion rubles ($15 billion) in banknotes into circulation in December, allegedly to cover a seasonal demand for cash. The regulator’s first deputy chairman Georgy Luntovsky announced the upcoming cash issue on Nov. 12. According to the Central Bank, the […]

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How the Unshackled Ruble Has Changed Russia’s Economy Forever; The weaker currency has hit consumers hard but helped oil producers

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – November 9, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-10/how-the-unshackled-ruble-has-changed-russia-s-economy-forever] Today marks the one-year anniversary of the freeing of the ruble for the first time in its post-Soviet history. In five charts, we show how the central bank’s decision to stop depleting international reserves to prop up the currency has upended every facet of the […]

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Hard to call Russian banking system healthy – Sberbank exec

Sberbank File Photo

MOSCOW. Oct 28 (Interfax) – It is currently difficult to call the Russian banking system healthy, Sberbank (MOEX: SBER) deputy CEO Bella Zlatkis believes. “If two or three banking institutions in the country close per week, if this number increases by tens in a year, if a whole number of banking institutions are having problems with capital and liquidity, I […]

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Russia Faces Reality With Prediction of Deeper Economic Slump

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

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‘Black Monday’ inflicts further damage on Russian markets

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

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

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Russian ruble tumbles as oil prices tank

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

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

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

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

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

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