The President of Russia Vladimir Putin is convinced that the presence of gold reserves and hard currency is the best guarantee of financial independence, writes Bloomberg citing high-ranking sources who discussed this topic directly with the head of state.
The news Agency said that the volatility of the exchange rate are also concerned about Putin, but he is willing to pay the price for financial security. Two high-level source on condition of anonymity confirmed that the President regularly asks his assistants reports on the status of reserves.
According to the interlocutors Bloomberg, Putin personally makes decisions about the expenditure of the national welfare Fund, which are financing infrastructure and other long-term projects.
“Vladimir Putin was aware of the power reserves in 2008-2009, when thanks to them he managed to survive the crisis without significant losses,” said former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who, according to the Agency, and regularly meets with the head of state to discuss economic policy. According to him, “stay with small reserves will now be difficult, even psychologically”.
The staff of the Central Bank are closely monitoring the markets for signs of loss of trust of Russians to the ruble, daily receiving reports from the banks about the demand for the currency, said a senior Bloomberg sources. According to the economist, Renaissance Capital Oleg Kuzmin, “the Central Bank is ready to accept almost any level of volatility, but would not spend the reserves”.
A former employee of the Bank of Russia Ekaterina Vlasova, an economist now working in the Moscow representative office, told the news Agency that contrary to the prevailing view, the expenditure from the Reserve Fund does not reduce international reserves. Bloomberg explains that when the Ministry of Finance takes from the sovereign Fund to cover the budget deficit, the Central Bank just transfers the monetary assets to the account, giving the Ministry the RUB. However, in order not to disperse inflation, similar money is removed from circulation by reducing the granting of loans to banks.
Sharp fluctuations of the ruble in General make life difficult for Russian business, says the Agency, citing the statement of the President of the company “Russian vegetable garden” Vladislav Korochkin. “No one believes that you can predict what will be the course in six months,” said the businessman, importing almost half of the seeds and seedlings.
On February 19, Russia’s international reserves stood at $379 billion, $29 billion above the minimum, recorded last April. At the end of last year the Bank of Russia has spent on futile attempts to stop the fall of ruble $67 billion and has since not spent a single penny for his support, says Bloomberg.
When Putin came to power in 2000, Russia’s reserves amounted to only $13 billion, reminds Agency. Since then was paid the external debt and foreign exchange reserves in July 2008 reached $598 billion, placing Russia third in the world after China and Japan.
In December 2014, the courses of the ruble has reached historic lows when the dollar rose above 100 rubles, Euro above 80 rubles, the Bank of Russia acknowledged that he had not tried to prevent the collapse of the national currency through interventions. Putin called the actions of the regulator “adequate”, and his reluctance to ‘burn’ reserves — the “right” strategy. At the beginning of June 2015, the head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina has announced its intention to increase reserves to $500 billion.
Speaking at the annual press conference in December 2014, Putin said that the economy “adapt to low energy prices” and its growth will usually resume within two years. Last year Russia’s GDP on an annual basis has dropped, according to Rosstat, by 3.7%. According to the Institute “development Center” Higher school of Economics, in 2016 the Russian economy will shrink by 1.5%. The three largest world rating agencies have also predicted further decline of Russia’s GDP this year: Standard & Poor’s — by 1.3%, Fitch — 1%, and Moody’s — 2.5%.
Last year consumer prices in Russia increased by 12.9%, while real wages Russians fell by 9.3%. In the current year inflation, according to the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev, will reach the level of 7-7,5%, and the decline in real wages, according to the Minister of labour Maxim Topilin, will slow down to 3-4%.
According to the estimate of Bank of Russia, the largest contribution to the growth of consumer prices has made the devaluation of the ruble taking into account the country’s dependence on imports, Bloomberg briefs.