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Feb 16, 2015

Foreign debt burden at heart of Russian economic worries

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Looming debt repayments by Russian companies are now central to discussions of Russia’s ability to weather the financial shocks caused by low oil prices and Western sanctions, but the picture is more complex than commonly believed.

Despite last week’s agreement aimed at ending the war in Ukraine, the sanctions are expected to remain for the foreseeable future, perhaps for years if the Ukraine deal fails to lead to a durable peace, leaving Russian companies largely cut off from Western financing.

Feb 5, 2015

Russian inflation hits 15 percent as economic pain deepens

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s inflation hit 15 percent in January, official data showed on Thursday, underscoring the growing economic pain from sliding oil prices and Western sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict.

Inflation has been shooting up in recent months as a result of a slide in the rouble, which has made imports dearer, as well as restrictions imposed on many food imports from the West in retaliation for the sanctions.

Jan 30, 2015

Russian central bank makes surprise interest rate cut

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank unexpectedly cut its main interest rate on Friday as fears of recession mount in the country following the fall in global oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

The central bank reduced its one-week minimum auction repo rate by two points to 15 percent, a little over a month after pushing it up by 6.5 points to 17 percent after a run on the rouble.

Jan 28, 2015

Russia unveils $35 billion anti-crisis plan, silent on cuts to pay for it

MOSCOW, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Russia announced a $35 billion
“anti-crisis” spending plan on Wednesday to bail out an economy
battered by Western sanctions and falling oil prices, but gave
few details of the deep cuts it said would be enacted this year
to pay for it.

The 2.34 trillion rouble spending plan includes 1.55 billion
roubles to support banks, most of which was already announced
last year and which many analysts say is still a fraction of
what Moscow will have to spend to keep its lenders afloat.

Jan 15, 2015

Putin’s defense fixation deepens Russian budget problems

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin’s insistence on huge defense spending makes it hard to see how a government plan to make deep budget cuts will see Russia through a deepening economic crisis.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov called on Wednesday for a 10 percent cut in planned expenditures, warning that if oil were to average $50 a barrel this year, the budget would face a shortfall of 3 trillion rubles ($46 billion).

Dec 11, 2014

Few oligarchs can beat Russia’s weakening economy

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s oligarchs are no strangers to misfortune, asset grabs, forced investments and financial crises.

Many of them may publicly shrug off a 40 percent plunge in the rouble and the difficulties caused by a sanctions-hit economy heading for recession.

Dec 9, 2014

Russian assets fall further, rate rise expectations mount

MOSCOW, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The rouble declined further on
Tuesday as global oil prices hovered close to five-year lows,
with mounting expectations the Russian central bank will raise
interest rates on Thursday.

At 1410 GMT, the rouble was 0.8 percent weaker against the
dollar at 54.18 and had lost 1.3 percent to stand
at 67.10 versus the euro.

Dec 8, 2014

Rouble and Russian shares slide as oil price tumbles to new low

MOSCOW, Dec 8 (Reuters) – The rouble and Russian shares fell
on Monday as the oil price tumbled to a five-year low and the
central bank appeared to refrain from interventions in the
currency market.

At 1300 GMT, the rouble was down 2.2 percent against the
dollar at 53.66 and down 1.8 percent against the euro at 65.80.

Dec 5, 2014

Rouble firms on probable interventions, RTS stock index falls below 900

MOSCOW, Dec 5 (Reuters) – The rouble defied falling oil
prices to firm on Friday, buoyed by what traders said were
sizeable interventions by the central bank after President
Vladimir Putin gave instructions to deal with “speculators” he
blames for weakening the currency.

Russian stocks fell heavily, however, weighed down by oil
prices falling further below $70 per barrel. The dollar-based
RTS stock index fell below 900 for the first time since
July 2009, briefly hitting a five-year low of 893 points, only
to rebound as the rouble suddenly strengthened.

Dec 4, 2014

Russian assets fall after Putin disappoints and oil slide resumes

MOSCOW, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Russian asset prices fell sharply
on Thursday after a state-of-the-nation speech from Russian
President Vladimir Putin left investors unimpressed by promised
reforms, and oil prices resumed their decline.

By 1430 GMT, the rouble was 1.6 percent weaker on the day at
53.37 versus the dollar and 2 percent weaker at
65.71 against the euro.