JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Cuts Interest Rate Again Amid Global Push for Looser Policy” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev

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“Russia’s central bank lowers its main rate to 7.25%” “… With signs mounting that the world economy is slowing, the [Federal Reserve] is widely expected to lower interest rates for the first time in over a decade …. The European Central Bank signaled … it is preparing to cut short-term interest rates for the first time since early 2016 …. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Visa and Mastercard May Soon Exit Russia Under Draft Law – Reports” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Stack of Credit Cards, adapted from image at fdic.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 12, 2019) New Russian payment system laws could lead the world’s largest credit and debit card companies Visa and Mastercard to exit the country’s market, the Kommersant business daily reported on Friday. U.S.-based Visa and Mastercard stopped servicing bank cards in annexed Crimea after the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014. Russia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s GDP growth slows in 1Q19, challenging the policy framework” – bne Intellinews/ Dmitri Dolgin (Russia ING)

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“Russian GDP growth slowed from 2.7% year on year in 4Q18 to just 0.5% y/y in 1Q19, well below expectations. Unlike most commentators, we attribute this slowdown to a pause in the state CAPEX rather than to the VAT hike. We also believe a policy response is more likely to come from the Finance Ministry rather than the Central Bank […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Banking on Politics: How Russia’s Banking Sector Clean-Up Affects Regime Stability” – PONARS Eurasia/ David Szakonyi

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

“Banking has increasingly become nationalized in Russia, raising concerns that all private banks may be forced from the market within 10 or 15 years. In the short run, this consolidation enables the government to continue funding its numerous and expensive commitments and thereby maintain social and political stability. David Szakonyi discusses the political consequences of this creeping nationalization of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia backs global use of its alternative SWIFT system” – Reuters

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

“Russian lawmakers on Tuesday backed the international use of a Russian alternative system for the global financial messaging network SWIFT designed by Moscow to eliminate the risk of Western sanctions. Russia has held talks with China, India, Iran and Turkey about joint use of Russia’s financial messaging system …. Russia started developing an alternative to the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging […]

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Once Upon A Handout: Russian Fairy Tales Accused Of Teaching Kids To Freeload

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Article ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tony Wesolowsky – Jan. 17, 2019 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/once-upon-a-handout-russian-fairy-tales-accused-of-teaching-kids-to-freeload/29716156.html) Children in Russia may be spooked by the witches and other dark characters in some of the country’s fairy tales, but a senior Central Bank official sees something even more sinister. Russian fairy tales are teaching kids to expect […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia faces sharp outflow of private investment; More than $67bn shifted out of the country’s economy last year” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

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“More private money left Russia in 2018 than … since the Crimean crisis and oil market rout of 2014 …. Over $67bn … according to the … central bank …. some … attributed to fears over … U.S. sanctions and threats of more actions from Washington …. [ING’s] Dmitry Dolgin … [indicated that when] Russia’s central bank suspended foreign exchange […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to resume forex purchases after sanctions hiatus; Moscow will spend Rbs265.8bn between next Tuesday and early February” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

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“Russia’s finance ministry said it is resuming foreign currency purchases on open markets after fears over U.S. sanctions saw it halt them last year to head off a slide in the rouble rate. … Rbs265.8bn … next Tuesday and February 6, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. … the first since the central bank … stopped them in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Capital flight from Russia triples y/y to $42.2bn in January-October” – bne Intellinews

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“The net outflow of capital from Russia in January-October 2018 was up to $42.2bn, a three-fold increase from the $14bn that left Russia in the same period a year earlier, according to preliminary estimates from Central Bank of Russia (CBR) …. Approximately half of this amount is accounted for by operations of banks to repay external liabilities[;] the other half […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Levada poll: Russians’ worries close to home” – Bear Market Brief/BMD Russia

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“… [poll numbers indicate that] Russians are concerned about rising prices (72%), poverty (52%), and unemployment (48%). … the highest August figures since 2013. … a Bank of Russia survey finds … ordinary Russians are expecting higher inflation …. lean years have rendered adventures abroad relatively less important to Russians. … inflationary expectations raise the specter of a key rate […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Inc. Isn’t Waiting for Central Bank to Brave a Rate Hike” – Bloomberg/Anna Andrianova

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“The cost of money is rising for Russians well ahead of any potential central bank move to lift interest rates for the first time in almost four years amid concern the U.S. may impose fresh sanctions. State-run Sberbank PJSC, which holds almost half of all Russian savings, is increasing rates for ruble accounts for the first time since 2014. It […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moody’s says effect of recent sanctions will be limited” – Bear Market Brief BMB Russia

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“A new Moody’s report says … U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia … in response to the Skripal poisoning will have little effect [on] the economy. New sanctions to come in the fall, however, could aggravate the structural limitations of Russian growth and lead to problems with bank financing. … Loose monetary policy will likely to be the first casualty, with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Inflation on the Rise for Russians” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 27, 2018) The cost of money is rising for Russians well ahead of any potential central bank move to lift interest rates for the first time in almost four years amid concern the U.S. may impose fresh sanctions. State-run Sberbank PJSC, which holds almost half of all Russian savings, is increasing rates for ruble […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s financial authorities are putting the economy on an ‘economic war’ footing as sanctions bite” – bne Intellinews/Vadim Dumes/Ben Aris

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“The sanctions[-]based assault on Russia by the U.S. and its expanding sanctions regime is starting to take its toll as the Russian government and financial authorities [are scrambling] to manage the damage … affecting everything from corporate profits to foreign currency reserves. Earlier this month … The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) said it will stop its regular foreign currency purchases […]

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Central Banker Named Putin Heir in Doomsday Prediction

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 19, 2017) President Vladimir Putin will continue to rule behind the scenes after installing the current Central Bank chairwoman as his proxy, the Bloomberg news agency predicted in its annual worst-case scenario guide on Monday. Putin, who announced plans to seek a fourth term this month, is widely expected to win the 2018 presidential […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s CBR gets tough on banks, demands they reveal owners’ identities” – bne Intellinews

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“The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) will demand that all of Russia’s banks fully disclose the identities of their owners from the start of 2018, Kommersant daily reported on September 11 citing the draft order prepared by the regulator. …”

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

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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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Lame-Duck Putinism

Putin at Desk

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org Brian Whitmore – September 1, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/lame-duck-putinism/28709290.html) An association of “patriotic entrepreneurs” is proposing that the Russian central bank issue a new 10,000 ruble banknote featuring Vladimir Putin’s likeness. Now you can read that a couple ways. The simplest, of course, is that it’s nothing more than […]

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Russia Offers Emergency Bank Aid to Prevent Otkritie Contagion

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Anna Baraulina – August 30, 2017) Russia’s central bank moved to contain a slow-motion banking crisis, offering support to other lenders after announcing the takeover of the largest institution yet. Bank Otkritie FC, Russia’s biggest private lender a month ago, is the first bank to be taken over by a fund created so that […]

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Big Data Convert Channels Big Brother to Take Russia’s Pulse

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 22, 2017) Raw numbers no longer cut it for Russia’s central bank in its effort to keep up with the economy. Instead, the man running its research and forecasting wants to know how Russians really feel by mining “big data,” gathered from social media and online stores. The Bank of Russia has […]

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Government policy measures could reduce price volatility, inflation expectations – CBR chief

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. July 13 (Interfax) – Government policy regarding the development of infrastructure, logistics and competition on food markets, as well as tariff regulation could help to reduce the volatility of prices and lower inflation expectations, Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said at the International Financial Congress. “We need to fight not only with the consequences of shocks for inflation, […]

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Bondholder’s Dream Beckons as ‘Japanification’ Sweeps Russia

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(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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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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Putin Nominates Bank of Russia Head Nabiullina for New Term

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Stepan Kravchenko – March 22, 2017) Russian President Vladimir #Putin told Bank of #Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina he plans to nominate her for a new 5-year term, praising her stewardship of the central bank as the country emerges from the longest recession this century. “The central bank under your leadership has done a #great […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia pushes to rid itself of ‘Potemkin’ banks by 2019” – Reuters/Alexander Winning, Andrey Ostroukh

“Russia plans to extend a review of bank licenses for another two years, shutting down scores more banks after closing hundreds in the past four years, mostly for committing fraud or other crimes …. Vasily Pozdyshev, a deputy governor at Russia’s central bank, says … his team is still finding more propping up criminal activity and would need until 2019 …. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economy grows at $40 per barrel oil; Russia’s Central Bank last week said appetite was low for an increase in lending rates” – UPI/Daniel J. Graeber

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

The Russian economy will be on the positive side of growth even if the price of crude oil falls to $40 per barrel … [Central Bank Gov. Elvira Nabiullina] said. … The number of economic sectors expected to expand this year is not much greater than those in contraction, but losers are outnumbered. Much … depends on the price of […]

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De-dollarization of economy, banking system proceeding at full speed, to continue – Central Bank

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MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) – De-dollarization of the #Russian economy and #banking system is proceeding at full speed given the preferences of the public and companies and this process will continue, the head of the Central Bank of #Russia’s research and forecasting department Alexander #Morozov said at a roundtable in the State #Duma. “De-dollarization in the economy is proceeding at […]

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Russian Central Bank Chief Nabiullina Named European Banker of the Year

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The British finance journal The Banker has named Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina as the European Central Bank Chairman of the year. The journal highlighted Nabiullina’s success in controlling Russia’s inflation rate. “The efforts of the Central Bank head has led to the fact that the rate of inflation by the […]

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Russian Banking System Safe From Cyber-Threats — Central Bank Head

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 28, 2016) Russian Central Bank Head Elvira Nabiullina said that Russia’s banking system is protected against cyber-threats in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel. “I should say that our banking system currently has an adequate level of protection against cyber threats,” she said. Nabiullina also said the Central Bank has created a […]

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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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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Central Bank anticipates remaining anti-Russia sanctions”

Elvira Nabiullina file photo

“The recovery may be stretched over time at present because [economic growth] factors should be different, unlike those before the oil price collapse. We understand this pretty well and speak about changing the behavior model of the economy and its development model. Economic recovery signs surfaced by now and the Bank of Russia expects minor growth of GDP,” Nabiullina said.

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Putin’s Maverick Adviser Defies Nabiullina With $64 Billion Plan

Central Bank of Russia file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – October 30, 2016) Sergei Glazyev agrees with President Vladimir Putin that shock therapy would be ill-advised for Russia. Which is also where he parts ways with his boss. Ever since the central bank’s shift to a free-floating exchange rate in late 2014, the country has been under the onslaught of policies that have […]

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Russia’s Widening Wealth Divide Poses Risks to Central Bank

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov – October 19, 2016) The Bank of Russia is discovering yet another downside to how little is left of the country’s middle class. The central bank has warned that its ability to steer inflation is at risk from growing wealth inequality and the disappearance of the middle-income households that are the most sensitive to […]

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Russia Hones Bank Oversight in Biggest Shakeup Since Crisis

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas October 4, 2016) Russia’s central bank sidelined the officials who headed its unprecedented cull of lenders, rearranging its leadership in the biggest shakeup since a currency crisis last year. Dmitry Tulin, the first deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, will replace Alexei Simanovsky and take over banking regulation and supervision starting Oct. 17, […]

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Interfax: Russian economy in for slow, unsteady recovery – Central Bank

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MOSCOW. Sept 1 (Interfax) – The Russian economy an expect slow, unsteady recovery in the next few quarters, the Central Bank’s Research and Forecasting Department said in its latest Talking Trends bulletin. The Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said in an initial estimate that GDP had fallen 0.6% year-on-year in Q2 2016. The Central Bank’s analysts said Rosstat’s data imply […]

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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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How Bad are Things in Russia Today? Some People There are Now Pawning Their Teeth

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 21, 2015) The worsening economic situation in Russia is highlighted by many things but none more compelling than the fact that it is forcing ever more people there to pawn whatever items of value they have – including their teeth — and then not to be in a position to reclaim […]

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Here’s What Putin Wants From Central Bank as Elections Near

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova, Andre Tartar – July 5, 2016) Helping your president win elections doesn’t have to compromise a central bank’s independence, at least not in Russia. Monetary policy is aligning with politics before Vladimir Putin’s biggest test at the ballot box since he returned to the presidency in 2012. By claiming the upper hand in the […]

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Economy ministry expects rate cut to have moderate impact, sees room for further cut

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MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) – The Central Bank of Russia’s decision on Friday to lower its key interest rate to 10.5% from 11% will have a positive, but “fairly moderate” impact on the economy, and there is still room for a further rate cut, a spokesman for the Economic Development Ministry told Interfax. “This decision will have a positive impact, […]

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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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Interfax: Lower key rate would not boost Russian economy – Central Bank

Russian Central Bank file photo

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – Lowering the key interest rate in current conditions would not result in growth for the real economy, Dmitry Tulin, first deputy governor of the Central Bank, said in the State Duma, during a discussion of the Central Bank’s annual report. “We take into consideration the factor of the impact of monetary policy on the state […]

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Putin Swears Off Stimulus as Policy Mix Moves Toward ‘Orthodoxy’

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – April 17, 2016) It was by no means the showstopper of President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in with Russians, complete as it was with digs at the U.S. and justice dispensed on live television. Two days after Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina urged reforms and warned against the “big illusion” of using inflation […]

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Putin’s $50 Billion Oil Cache Gives Russia Luxury to Ignore ECB

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 13, 2016) Russian central bankers have fewer reasons to offer relief to their recession-wracked economy than you might think. Their decision whether to resume an interest rate-cutting cycle this week is almost beside the point as the government of Vladimir Putin lubricates the economy in the background with oil wealth amassed in […]

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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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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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Russia sees 1% January inflation, annual falls to single figures – Rosstat

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MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) – Russia had 1% inflation in January 2016, compared with 0.8% in both December and November 2015, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Analysts told Interfax in a consensus forecast at the end of January that they thought inflation for the month would be 1%. Inflation soared to 3.9% in January 2015 – the highest […]

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