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Nov 24, 2013

Russians see no cause for alarm in crackdown on shadowy banking

MOSCOW, Nov 24 (Reuters) – The problems exposed in Russia’s
banking system by last week’s collapse of mid-sized lender
Master Bank are deep-rooted, but in contrast with banking
failures of the past there was no evidence this time of other
banks’ customers taking fright.

Which might seem surprising, as the collapse has highlighted
the difficulty of enforcing regulations against banks with
strong political connections, and the widespread use of illegal
payments to service Russia’s large black economy, analysts said.

Nov 20, 2013

Russian bank’s licence withdrawal may signal central bank crackdown

MOSCOW, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank has
withdrawn Moscow-based Master Bank’s licence because of what it
called “large-scale dubious operations”, raising the possibility
of a wider crackdown on the country’s banks.

An announcement by the central bank on Wednesday referred to
a failure by Master Bank, a mid-sized lender with significant
retail operations, to observe anti-money laundering laws, false
accounting, and loans to connected parties.

Nov 8, 2013

Russian central bank holds rates, facing stagflation dilemma

MOSCOW, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank left its key
policy rate unchanged for the 14th month in a row on Friday,
underscoring the painful dilemma faced by policymakers grappling
with slowing growth and rising inflation.

The bank held its benchmark one-week minimum auction repo
rate at 5.5 percent, reflecting concerns about above-target
inflation.

Nov 6, 2013

Russia’s Putin: spending all fiscal reserves would be a mistake

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia, Nov 6 (Reuters) – President Vladimir
Putin said on Thursday that Russia should not spend all of its
fiscal reserves, lending support to fiscal conservatives who
favour keeping most rainy-day funds invested in low-risk foreign
assets.

Putin was addressing a meeting to discuss the use of the
National Welfare Fund, an $89 billion stash of energy revenues
that has been saved to cover the rising long-term cost of state
pensions.

Nov 4, 2013

Thousands of Russian nationalists rally in anti-immigrant protests

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Thousands of Russian nationalists rallied across the country on National Unity Day on Monday, in a sign of the growing strength of far-right political forces galvanized by an anti-immigrant agenda.

Hard-line nationalists have adopted the holiday, which commemorates the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612, as an occasion to hold annual “Russian Marches”.

Oct 17, 2013

Russians still fearful on inflation, central bank survey shows

MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) – More than three quarters of
Russians assume inflation will outpace wage growth over the next
year, a central bank survey shows, underlining the bank’s
reluctance to cut interest rates.

Chronically high inflation expectations have deterred the
central bank’s new policymaking team under governor Elvira
Nabiullina from loosening monetary policy over recent months
even as economic growth has ground to a halt.

Oct 14, 2013

Russian central bank holds rates, concerned about inflation expectations

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank kept its main policy rate on hold as expected on Monday, stating concerns over stubborn inflation expectations even as retail price growth fell to the top of its target range.

The bank left its key one-week minimum auction repo rate at 5.5 percent, leaving policy rates unchanged for the 13th month in a row.

Sep 24, 2013

Monetary policy can’t fix Russia’s structural problems: central banker

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank has limited scope to reverse an economic slowdown that reflects underlying structural problems rather than tight credit, the bank’s new head of monetary policy said.

Ksenia Yudayeva, appointed to head monetary policy under new Chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina, defended the bank against political pressure to cut interest rates to boost growth.

Sep 23, 2013

Russia can afford to keep Putin’s social promises

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is committed to improving education, health and social welfare and will have no problem financing their long-term development, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit.

Concerns about Russia’s poor demographics, an eroding skills base and the high cost of social security obligations are mounting, amid signs that these chronic problems are taking a toll on overall economic performance.

Sep 18, 2013

Economic slowdown and Putin’s promises take toll on Russian budget

MOSCOW, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The Russian budget’s dependence
on fickle oil and gas prices is set to remain high, as the
country will be forced to borrow more in response to an
unexpectedly severe economic slowdown.

Under a three-year budget plan seen by Reuters on Wednesday,
the Finance Ministry will raise borrowing to compensate for
lower-than-expected tax revenues and to fund the rising cost of
spending promises made by President Vladimir Putin.