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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Davos-2014: Russia, US to conclude several agreements on trade

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Russia and the US plan to conclude a number of agreements concerning trade, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told journalists following their meeting with a US trade representative on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“There can be no talk of a project for a trade zone. This concerns a set of agreements that at the end of the path will give us the equivalent of a free trade zone. Right now we are mainly talking about an agreement on protecting investments and a future agreement in the area of technical regulation, phytosanitary control,” Ulyukayev said.

An agreement on a free trade zone would require authority currently given at Customs Union level, he said. For Russia it is important to “move forward in agreements where we have legal opportunities to implement them.”

“What did we agree on today? Well there are two parts: one is legislation and the other is business practice.” Ulyukayev said Russia would meet with US officials again in Washington in February.

“We would like to [implement] several projects, such as trans-arctic and trans-pacific direct aviation links, investment infrastructure projects and interregional cooperation.”

The minister said he hoped the United States would adopt the proposals made by Russia.

“We, of course, talked about all the constant issues we have in separate areas, from phytosanitary measures to trade with certain goods. We have problems with steel, with urea and other goods, while the Americans are, naturally, most worried about their meat. There are constant questions on protecting intellectual property and on customs matters – this will all be on the agenda for the next meetings.”

The first meeting will take place in Washington on February 26 at minister level. Asked how far the issues concerning metallurgy, chemicals and meat had moved forward after Russia’s accession to the WTO, Dvorkovich said “so far there is no considerable progress, but at least now there is a mutual desire to try and find solutions to these difficult issues.” Ulyukayev said the first package of agreements may be signed “at best at the end of 2014.”

Fuente: The Voice Of Russia

Irán y Rusia negocian intercambiar crudo y bienes por 1.000 millones al mes

Irán y Rusia están negociando un acuerdo que prevé intercambiar crudo por bienes por un valor de 1.500 millones de dólares por mes (1.097 millones de euros). El convenio permitiría a Irán elevar sus exportaciones de petróleo pese a las sanciones occidentales que contribuyeron a la firma del acuerdo preliminar para interrumpir su programa nuclear. Fuentes de ambos países cercanas a las negociaciones han confirmado que están en discusión los detalles finales y que Moscú compraría —pese a su importante producción interna— hasta 500.000 barriles por día de petróleo iraní a cambio de equipos y bienes rusos.

“Por el momento se está avanzando bastante, con buenas posibilidades de éxito”, ha declarado una fuente rusa. “Se está discutiendo la fecha para la firma definitiva”, ha añadido, mientras el Kremlin ha evitado hacer comentarios. Por su parte, un funcionario iraní ha aclarado que el objetivo es “firmar el acuerdo lo antes posible” insistiendo en que ” los funcionarios están discutiendo el tema con los rusos y con suerte se firmará pronto, independientemente de que lleguemos a un acuerdo [nuclear] en Ginebra”. Se desconoce si el acuerdo sería implementado antes que el pacto nuclear, delineado en la ciudad suiza en noviembreentre Irán y seis potencias mundiales, se finalice.

Tampoco está claro la forma en que Moscú justificará a las otras potencias un intercambio que, al aliviar la presión económica sobre Teherán, podría poner en peligro las negociaciones nucleares. Las sanciones estadounidenses y europeas han recortado las exportaciones petroleras de Irán en más de la mitad en los últimos 18 meses, que ahora rozan el millón de barriles por día. Aunque Rusia, al contrario, no ha tomado medidas en contra Teherán aunque sea uno de los países involucrados en las negociaciones nucleares.

“Irán debe hallar una forma de acomodar más exportaciones, es esta la razón detrás de este acuerdo”, ha subrayado un un funcionario iraní. “Ambas partes deben poner empeño en esto. Rusia podrá garantizar una gran cantidad de comercio con su vecino e Irán podrá superar sus dificultades para exportar”, ha proseguido.

La mayoría del petróleo iraní se exporta a Asia. China, su principal comprador, importó alrededor de 420.000 barriles por día en 2013. A diferencia de los otros compradores del petróleo de Irán, Pekín no ha reducido mucho sus compras, a pesar de los esfuerzos de Estados Unidos en ese sentido. Las presiones de Washington han sido más exitosas con otros compradores importantes de crudo iraní en Asia como Japón, Corea del Sur y India, que han drásticamente recortado sus importaciones. Turquía y Sudáfrica también han reducido o incluso eliminado sus importaciones.

Fuente: El Pais