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May 8, 2013

Putin can’t blame global ills for Russia’s economic crunch

MOSCOW, May 8 (Reuters) – He is one of a few people who can
stand up to Vladimir Putin, but even Russia’s former finance
minister failed to persuade the president his economy’s problems
lie at home not abroad.

When Alexei Kudrin took Putin to task live on television
during the president’s annual question-and-answer session and
said the economy was tanking because of a poor business climate
in Russia, Putin brushed off the criticism – jokingly calling
Kudrin a “slacker” for declining a new government job.

Apr 2, 2013

Russian c.bank cuts long-term rates, sees risks to growth

MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank lowered
its interest rates on long-term operations on Tuesday and warned
of “increased risks” to economic growth, making cuts in its key
policy rates more likely in the near future.

The bank’s moves suggest it is softening its previously
hawkish position. But they also underscore the dilemma the
central bank faces, when Russia is caught between the twin evils
of excessive inflation and a sharp slowdown in economic growth.

Mar 13, 2013

Much to prove for Putin’s central bank pick Nabiullina

MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) – Elvira Nabiullina has the
confidence and credentials as an economist to resist Kremlin
appeals for looser monetary policy once she moves from Vladimir
Putin’s office to head the Russian central bank.

But for some, the president’s choice – announced on Tuesday
at the expense of frontrunners within the bank’s existing
management – signals the decline of a liberal economic policy
elite that has dominated strategy since Putin rose to power 13
years ago and shows central bank independence only goes so far.

Feb 26, 2013

Russia needs structural reforms, not stimulus-World Bank

MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Russia should undertake
structural reforms and not cut interest rates or boost spending
to revive flagging economic growth, the World Bank said on
Tuesday in its annual country report.

“Stimulating the economy in the short term would just spill
over into more persistent and higher inflation and would
ultimately derail growth in the longer term,” said Kaspar
Richter, World Bank lead economist for Russia, presenting the
report in Moscow.

Feb 21, 2013

Russia needs financial police to combat illegal capital flight

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia needs to create a specialized financial police force to combat illegal capital flight and monitor state spending, Alexander Bastrykin, the country’s top investigator, said on Thursday.

Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, appeared to be responding to concerns raised by the central bank over illegal schemes to siphon tens of billions of dollars out of the country each year.

Feb 20, 2013

Russian rate cuts depend on inflation-cbank chief

MOSCOW, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank can only
consider cutting interest rates when inflation falls, its
chairman said on Wednesday, resisting pressure for quick
reductions to boost a flagging economy.

The central bank has faced criticism from business and
politicians for refusing to loosen monetary policy, including
from the country’s president Vladimir Putin.

Feb 12, 2013

Russian central bank holds all rates, warns on inflation

MOSCOW, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank left all
its policy rates on hold at its monthly meeting on Tuesday,
resisting political pressure to ease policy and warning that
inflation would stay above target for an extended period.

Analysts had expected the central bank to hold rates after
inflation rose above 7 percent in January, feeding doubts about
its chances of achieving its 5-6 percent target range for 2013,
and the rouble continued to strengthen slightly to 34.74 against
a euro-dollar basket after the announcement.

Feb 6, 2013

Russian central bank defends hawkish stance

MOSCOW, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank stepped up
its defence of its reluctance to ease policy, offering more
insight on Wednesday into the methods it uses to set interest
rates and describing its current stance as neutral.

Under political pressure to cut rates in response to slowing
growth and tightening credit, the central bank said financial
conditions are “neutral” and Russia’s growth rate is in line
with potential.

Feb 5, 2013

Consumers to power Russian economy, stock market-study

MOSCOW, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Russia’s consumer market will be
the largest in Europe by 2020 and the fourth largest in the
world, offering rich pickings for investors, according to a
report on Tuesday by Sberbank CIB, the investment banking arm of
Russia’s top bank Sberbank.

The report sought to counter popular stereotypes that
Russia’s economy is largely based on oil and other natural
resources and highlight the growth potential of
consumer-oriented sectors that cater to a large and growing
middle class.

Jan 30, 2013

Analysis: Putin’s central bank choice – Sound money or boom-bust?

MOSCOW (Reuters) – An impending change in the leadership of Russia’s central bank will test President Vladimir Putin’s commitment to sound money.

Chairman Sergei Ignatyev will retire in June after 11 years at the helm, with a replacement to be named in March.