Russia backs IMF conditions for Ukraine cash injection

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Russia has upheld the requirements that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has demanded from the crisis-ridden Ukraine. This is according to Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. He said the group of 20 finance ministers had met on the sidelines of their economic forum to discuss opportunities of IMF granting Ukraine loans.

Siluanov said that Russia had agreed with demands that came together with cash injections.“We have previously talked with Ukraine’s economic authorities about the importance of reforming the [national currency] Hrivna rates to make them more flexible, as well as about cutting subsidies, revitalizing the budget and changing domestic [gas] tariffs,” the minister said.

“I think all these issues will stay on the agenda,” he added. ‘We shall see what stance the new government will take.”

Siluanov also spoke favorable about the work of the IMF, saying Russia supported its policies. “The fund has a lot of experience helping countries that have problems with their budget and balance sheet. They have an entire toolkit at their disposal for this sort of occasions, and of course their experience will come in handy when dealing with Ukraine,” the Russian finance chief concluded.

Ukraine has been soliciting an IMF loan worth $15 billion for the past two years. In exchange, Kiev was asked to ease up its Hrivna rates, ratchet up energy tariffs and cut budget debt.


Fuente : The Voice of Russia


Deripaska Wants Capital Moved to Siberia


Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska has proposed moving the nation’s capital to Siberia, to stem the concentration of power and «corruption» in Moscow and help integrate the country into Asian and Pacific economies, a news report said.

Deripaska, whose RusAl aluminum company has most of its plants in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk, made the proposal at the Davos economic forum during a panel discussion about Siberian development, Vedomosti reported on Thursday.

«Moscow means excessive centralization and corruption,» Deripaska said. He named Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk as candidates for a new capital.

Deripaska said that integrating Russian into the Asian and Pacific region’s economies was a «question of the country’s survival.»

Russians widely debated moving the capital to St. Petersburg in the early 2000s, after President Vladimir Putin — a native of that city — came to power, and the question has resurfaced repeatedly in later years.

Fuente: The Moscow Times

Sberbank to Sidestep Slowdown at Home By Expanding Abroad


The country’s biggest bank, Sberbank, plans to diversify its investment banking business abroad while the country tries to fix its slowing economy, an executive board member of the bank said.

Russia last autumn slashed its forecast of long-term growth to 2.5 percent a year from 4 percent, lagging the global economy, while the number two official at the Central Bank, Ksenia Yudayeva, has said the country is stuck in «stagflation».

Earlier this month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development told Russia to tackle its poor business climate to reverse the slowdown which was being compounded by structural problems.

«In Russia we need a new growth paradigm,» Alexander Bazarov, a member of the executive board and senior vice president at Sberbank, said in an interview during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

«This search will take time — and it will take even more time to implement it in real life,» Bazarov said. He said Europe was starting to wake up and that would have an impact on investment banking activity.

Bazarov, who is deputy head of investment banking unit Sberbank CIB, also identified Turkey as a promising growth market.

To reduce its reliance on the Russian home market, Sberbank has already extended its reach into Eastern Europe and Turkey with the acquisitions of Vienna-based Volksbank AG and Turkey’s Denizbank.

«Ideally, we would hope that Turkey and Europe bring Sberbank as much business as we make in Russia now,» Bazarov said. Sberbank CIB earned net profits of $280 million in Russia last year.

Sberbank has made a five-year plan to double its assets and profits, targeting annual growth in business lending of 15 percent and 18 percent in consumer lending. It wants to achieve a return on equity of 18 percent.

In Russia, Bazarov said he expected a round of defensive M&A activity that will lead to consolidation in the metallurgical and mining sectors.

«These will have a forced character to the extent that the sector is experiencing difficulties,» he said, adding that he expected consolidation in the financial sector. «If, as a result, one or more large private banks emerges, that would be good.»


Fuente: The Moscow Times

Dollar will continue its downward qualm in 2014 – expert


The basics of investment point to the US dollar exchange rate as a powerful predictor for the overall global economic performance. Therefore much of the corporate and independent analytical effort is directed towards forecasting and even modeling the dynamics of the ‘greenback’. The dominant sentiment is pessimistic, with many investors expecting a weaker dollar in 2014. The Voice of Russia talked with Economist and writer Jerry Robinson, and Maria Tsiguleva, head of customer relations at Alfa Trading looks at the possible movements of the exchange rate curve for the USD this year.

Jerry Robinson believes:

The dollar has been very difficult to forecast even for the most expert forecasters, because for a long time it’s been in a downward trend overall. If you take a look at the chart for the US dollar it’s been going down. But it has this amazing resilience at its current level, it seems to be attempting to bounce back. The euro has been providing quite a bit of an interesting challenge to the dollar, but also helping the dollar. By trying to forecast the dollar we have to we have to look at other areas, other regions, and other currencies that might cause the dollar to either go up or go down. I expect overall for the dollar in 2014 to continue its downward qualm. 

Although the US and Europe remain the economic engines for the advanced democracies, there are other factors molding the shape of the exchange rate curve. China’s intentions to continue selling America’s sovereign debt both define investor sentiment and actually lead to a lower currency value. This goes in contrast with Japan’s attempt to generate inflation and lean towards a cheaper yen. Maria Tsiguleva breaks down the downward forecast into specific reasons:

We think that the USD depreciation could become a reality in the year 2014 on the back of the improvement of the European economy. Moreover, the regulator is keen to reduce the volume of its bond-buying program during its mid-March meeting from $85 billion to $70 billion. It could lead to the rise in the stock markets and also to the flight from the safe dollar-denominated assets. So, in the first quarter of the next year the EUR/USD could rise to 1.41 afterwards it could fall to 1.365. 

The sheer volume of variable factors comprising the forecast models for the US dollar makes it an ungrateful task. The risk-averse market players may choose to hedge by betting on many currencies including crypto currencies – the latest addition to the investor basket. It is, however, clear that the backdrop against which the US dollar is set to fluctuate this year will be pushing the ‘greenback’ down, and the resilience of the underlying economy is the decisive factor in overcoming this pressure.


Fuente: Voice Of Russia 

Gazprom reports 4% hike in profits from gas sales to Europe

Вввод в эксплуатацию газового месторождения Бованенково в ЯНАО

Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom reported on Thursday a four-percent jump in profits through the first nine months of 2013 thanks to strong sales to Europe that offset declines in supplies to ex-Soviet states.

The world’s largest natural gas company reported profits attributed to Gazprom owners of 858.77 billion rubles ($25.2 billion / 18.6 billion euros).

The state-owned firm said its sales to Europe rose by 15 percent «primarily due to an increase in volumes of gas sold… that was reinforced by an increase in average prices in ruble terms».

Its sales to former Soviet republics fell by 25 percent «due to a decrease in average prices in ruble terms… and a decrease in volumes of gas sold».


Fuente: Voice Of Russia