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 Ruble Crashes to 77 Per Dollar Amid Oil Price Slump

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2016) The Russian ruble fell to 77 against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday for the first time since December 2014 as global prices for oil continue to slide, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. As of Tuesday morning, the Russian currency had slipped to 77.01 against the U.S. dollar and 83.80 against the […]

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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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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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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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Ruble Fall Stokes Russian Holidaymaker Woes

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – July 30, 2015) Alexandra Khomenok booked a European holiday earlier this month, but her plans hit a stumbling block this week as the ruble took an abrupt plunge, scraping four-month lows. While the 27-year-old PR manager has already bought tickets for herself and her husband to fly to Italy in September, they […]

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Ruble’s Top Forecaster Sees Deeper Rout as Companies Repay Debt

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – July 2, 2015) Sanctions are once again catching up on the ruble. While still the best performer in the world this year, no emerging-market currency has fallen more in the past month as the effect of rebounding oil prices faded. Approaching foreign-debt payments and a shrinking economy probably mean it has a further […]

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Russia Embraces Yuan in Move Against U.S. Dollar Hegemony

Map of China and Environs, adapted from archived cia.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – June 16, 2015) Russian financial authorities, energy companies and state-controlled banks are stepping up their use of China’s yuan currency as Western sanctions spur diversification away from the U.S. dollar. In recent weeks, major Russian institutions have lined up to announce moves to use the yuan, which will likely emerge as the […]

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NEWSLINK Brookings Institution: The ruble currency storm is over, but is the Russian economy ready for the next one?

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Recent data show the Russian economy contracted 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015. In this article, Sergey Aleksashenko delves into the events that led to the downturn, and what we can expect for the rest of 2015.

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: The Putin Recession; Russia’s economy keeps shrinking, but the West won’t take advantage

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The Wall Street Journal editors address Russia’s economic crisis and the West’s apparent unwillingness to step up economic pressure. The Russian recession is expected to continue unfolding. An oddity of recent weeks has been the attempt to argue that Russia’s economy isn’t as awful as it looks. Then along comes Friday’s report that GDP fell 1.9% year-on-year in the first […]

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What next for Russia’s economy and the ruble?

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer in Moscow, Senior Partner at Macro Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting – May 19, 2015) If you left Russia for the last New Year holiday and did not return until the recent May holidays, and did not follow the news from or about Russia in the meantime, you would certainly be […]

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Russia’s Richest Billionaire: Impact of Sanctions Is Waning

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ryan Chilcote, Yuliya Fedorinova – May 18, 2015) Russia’s richest man said international investors are coming back to the country and the impact of sanctions has peaked. “Now it’s getting clear that the situation is more politically stable or predictable,” Vladimir Potanin, who heads Russia’s biggest miner, OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, said in an interview with […]

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As Inflation Soars, One in Five Russians Can Only Afford Bare Necessities

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – May 15, 2015) Many Russians flocked to stores late last year as the ruble plummeted against the euro and dollar, eager to get the most out of their savings before the prices of imported goods rose. Nearly 20 percent of Russians can now afford nothing more than the absolute necessities as double-digit […]

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Currency Crisis Leaves Russian Scientists With No Funds for Foreign Journal Subscriptions

Artist's Conception of Nanotechnology Components

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – May 13, 2015) After scientists across Russia lost access to thousands of academic journals on Tuesday due to the ruble’s sharp devaluation, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov vowed to restore access to academic publishing giant Springer, Russian media reported. Universities and research institutions across the country lost access to Springer due to a […]

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Strengthening of ruble due to growth of oil prices over – Yudayeva

Oil Wells File Photo

MOSCOW. April 22 (Interfax) – The strengthening of the ruble due to growth in prices for oil has ended, First Deputy Central Bank Governor Ksenia Yudayeva told journalists at the Forum for Financial Stability on Wednesday. “The strengthening of the ruble has ended, it has partially ended, what we saw was connected with the sharp movement upwards in prices for […]

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Russian Global Trade Plummets as Economic Crisis Deepens

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 21, 2015) Russia’s trade turnover with the outside world plunged 30.1 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2015 as oil price falls, currency devaluation and tit-for-tat sanctions shook the Russian economy. The value of Russia’s international trade fell to $83.3 billion over January and February, according to data published […]

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Ruble Rebound Slows Russia’s Rampant Food Price Inflation

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – April 21, 2015) The ruble’s rapid recovery in recent weeks has seen prices on some foods fall, easing months of spiraling inflation and softening one of the most widely felt blows of Russia’s economic crisis. All major retailers contacted by The Moscow Times last week said that the ruble’s rebound of some […]

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Weak Russian Economic Data Blunt Putin’s Optimism

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – April 20, 2015) The ruble slumped 4 percent and Moscow-listed stocks fell on Friday after official data showed that Russia’s economy contracted sharply in the first quarter of this year. The data, which showed a deep decline in real wages and consumer spending, came a day after President Vladimir Putin told Russians […]

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NEWSLINK CNBC: Russia has bigger concerns than oil, ruble: Deputy PM

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

Faced with the triple whammy of plunging oil prices, currency volatility and Western sanctions, there’s no dearth of challenges for Russia’s ailing economy, but Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said what hurts most is the scarcity of financing for new investments. “The shortness of financing for new investments is where the Russian economy is being hit in the most important […]

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Eastern Ukraine returns to the ruble

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Graham Stack in Kyiv, Mari Bastashevski in Donetsk – April 15, 2015) The Russian ruble is gaining ground against the hryvnia across rebel-held parts of East Ukraine’s Donbas region, 19 years after Kyiv introduced the national currency to end the country’s membership of the ruble zone. As Eastern Ukraine heads towards becoming a frozen […]

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Russia Sees Further Drop in Capital Outflows as Economy Adjusts

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Anna Andrianova – April 14, 2015) Russian capital outflows will slow further as bonds and the ruble stage a comeback following a sell-off last year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. Net outflows will slow to $15 billion in the second quarter after a “sharp decline” in the previous three months, bringing the total for […]

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Russian Capital Flight Slows to $32.6 Billion in First Quarter

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 10, 2015) Net capital outflow from Russia was $32.6 billion in the first quarter of the year, down from $72.9 billion in the previous three months, suggesting that panic over Russia’s economic crisis has receded, data published this week by the Central Bank showed. Capital flight from Russia nearly tripled in 2014 from the […]

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Moscow Times: Ruble Hits New 2015 Highs in World’s Best Currency Rebound

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 8, 2015) The Russian currency strengthened rapidly Wednesday as a recent rally driven by greater confidence in the ruble and easing international tensions overpowered the downward pressure of a sliding oil price. The ruble jumped over 3 percent in morning trading to 53.4 against the U.S. dollar before weakening slightly to […]

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Ruble whipsaws top forecasters as worst currency becomes best

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ksenia Galouchko – MOSCOW, April 6, 2015) For one of the toughest jobs in financial markets, try predicting the ruble. As Russia’s currency went from the world’s worst performer to the best in the first three months of this year, it caught out even the most accurate forecasters. Oil’s drop to near a six-year low and […]

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Expats in Russia: No longer a boom – but not all doom and gloom

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald, special to RBTH – March 30, 2015) The ruble’s calamitous fall against the euro and dollar this winter and a well-publicised recession makes Russia less attractive for expats than anytime in recent memory. But are they really leaving the country? Bryan MacDonald discovers that how the economy is faring back home […]

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Effect of ruble strengthening nearly neutral for Russian budget – Nesterenko

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MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) – Ruble strengthening in excess of that assumed in the 2015 budget would lead to both lower revenue and lower spending, meaning that the net impact on the budget will be neutral, First Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko said. “The ruble exchange rate and the price of oil [assumed in the budget] are forecasts calculated as […]

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Russian ruble seen appreciating by third this year

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 9, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/russian-ruble-seen-appreciating-third-year] After crashing in December, Russia’s ruble has made a remarkable comeback since February by rising about 15% against the dollar, making it the best performing currency amongst the 14 in Emerging Europe so far this year, according to Bloomberg. And the appreciation of the ruble […]

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S&P downgrades Russia to junk

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 27, 2015) Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk status late on January 26, a move which precipitated the rouble’s fall by more than 6%. S&P lowered Russia’s credit rating to BB+, one step below investment grade, as renewed fighting in Ukraine raised the threat of tighter Western […]

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Double trouble – Russia 2014 vs 2008

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – COMMENT: Peter Szopo of Erste Asset Management – January 20, 2015) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/comment-double-trouble-russia-2014-vs-2008] History, they say, does not repeat itself – it rhymes. Even if this were true, history’s rhymes are clunky at best. While Russia’s current crisis has obvious parallels with the turmoil in 2008, such as the drop in oil prices, […]

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China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion

China Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – December 22, 2014) Two Chinese ministers offered support for Russia as President Vladimir Putin seeks to shore up the ruble without depleting foreign-exchange reserves. China will provide help if needed and is confident Russia can overcome its economic difficulties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi was cited as saying in Bangkok in a Dec. 20 report by Hong […]

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Does anybody in Russia care about the ruble?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Bovt, special to RBTH – December 19, 2014) After becoming two times poorer in real terms since the beginning of the year due to the collapse of the ruble, Russians could well have taken to the streets to protest against the government’s economic policies. Why hasn’t that happened? And why is mass […]

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How does the 2014 ruble crisis compare with the 1998 vintage?

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – December 17, 2014) The ruble’s crash on December 15 from RUB53 to nearly RUB80 vs the dollar has caused many commentators to compare this crisis to Russia’s financial collapse in 1998. Is Russia really going into a full-scale meltdown for the fourth time in two decades? Crashing oil prices […]

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Russian Media Downplay Extent of Ruble Crisis

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Ivan Nechepurenko – December 17, 2014) While the ruble pinballed erratically between 58 and 80 per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, making headlines around the world, Russia’s state-run media have attempted to take a soft and conciliatory stance on the home currency’s woes. A news bullet by state-owned Channel One aired at 6 p.m. […]

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Medvedev says ruble ‘undervalued’ as slide slows

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 17, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the ruble undervalued at a meeting on December 17 with the top officials of the government, the central bank and heads of Russia’s largest exporters. He said that regulation of the currency market would remain based on market principles, but the presence […]

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Russia moves to free-sinking currency

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – November 19, 2014) After controlling the ruble-dollar exchange rate for more than two decades to ease the pain of the transition to a free market, on October 9 the Russia’s central bank finally let the ruble go. The Russian currency is now a fully floating currency, but it is […]

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Early shift to free-floating policy gives shelter to battered Russian ruble

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – November 17, 2014) Since the beginning of 2014 the value of the ruble has fallen by about 50 percent against the dollar and the euro, a slide most analysts attribute to low oil prices. In the end, Russia’s Central Bank decided to bring forward plans to let the ruble […]

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