MOSCOW, Oct 16 (Reuters) – A steep plunge in the rouble,
caused by sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and falling oil
prices, has underlined Russia’s heavy dependence on Western
finance to balance its dollar-thirsty economy.
For all President Vladimir Putin’s anti-Western bravado and
talk of shifting Russia’s economic ties to Asia, the last few
weeks show the opposite – that the cogs of the economy are oiled
by financial flows from the West.
MOSCOW, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank is working
out new measures to provide foreign-currency financing for
banks, as Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis keep dollars
in short supply.
Central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Thursday
that in the coming weeks the bank plans to introduce repo
facilities under which it would lend dollars to banks for terms
of seven and 28 days.
MOSCOW, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank is working
on measures to support the economy should oil prices fall by as
much as a third or more, a senior official said on Wednesday,
showing growing concern as the rouble slides and Western
sanctions take a toll.
The International Monetary Fund also gave a pessimistic
assessment of the Russian economy, halving its growth forecast
for 2015 to just 0.5 percent.
MOSCOW, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank can
achieve low inflation despite economic shocks from the Ukraine
crisis, the bank’s Deputy Governor Ksenia Yudayeva told Reuters
She was cautious about economic growth, though, arguing that
low growth was a serious structural problem facing the country
which monetary policy was largely powerless to solve. The best
the bank could do to help, she said, was to boost the confidence
of long-term savers by bringing inflation under control.
MOSCOW, Sep 19 (Reuters) – Russian shares got a short-lived
boost on Friday afternoon after a well-known tycoon was freed
from house arrest, but the market optimism faded, leaving
indexes well into the red.
Sistema, the conglomerate of telecoms and oil
tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov, said that the businessman had been
freed from house arrest. But he will have to stay in Russia to
face money laundering charges.
MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble fell to new
lows on Tuesday as Russian companies paid foreign debts amid a
shortage of dollars, but comments that officials may make more
foreign currency available helped to check the losses.
The rouble has been dropping since the middle of last week.
Falling oil prices, punitive sanctions over Ukraine and broad
emerging-market weakness before this week’s meeting of the U.S.
Federal Reserve all contributed to the decline.
MOSCOW/WARSAW, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Russian gas giant Gazprom
said on Saturday it was not able to supply Poland with
the volumes of natural gas it was requesting and could only
deliver levels closer to daily minimum allowed under the
Gazprom gave no reason for its inability to deliver the gas,
but earlier this week said it was exporting gas subject to
available resources and pumping to storage facilities in Russia.
MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) – The Russian central bank left
its key interest rate on hold at a regular meeting on Friday,
signalling a dovish shift in policy which may mean that a recent
cycle of rate hikes is over.
Speaking at a news conference after the rate decision,
central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina said that the bank sees
no need to raise rates at present as inflation is on track to
fall over the medium term.
MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Russian stocks rebounded on
Friday as investors concluded that the market had over-reacted
to new European Union sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine
crisis, but the rouble hit a new record low against the dollar.
The EU’s new sanctions further restrict access to foreign
capital for Russia’s largest state-controlled companies,
including top energy firms. The United States was expected to
follow on Friday with similar measures targeting Russia’s
largest bank Sberbank.
MOSCOW, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank is likely
to leave its main interest rate unchanged on Friday to support
the weak economy, although there is a small chance it could opt
for a hike to clamp down on high inflation, economists say.
Of the 19 economists surveyed by Reuters this week, 15
expect the bank to keep rates at 8 percent on Friday, while four
anticipate a half percentage-point increase.