The Russian Economy: Looking to Venezuela

On January 31, 2019, the Information and Analytical Agency FINAM held an on-line conference entitled “The Russian Economy: Looking to Venezuela”, dedicated to current problems of the Russian economy.

In 2018, according to the Ministry of Economic Development, Russia’s GDP grew by 2%, which is slightly higher than expected according to forecasts.

The experts drew parallels between the crisis in Venezuela and the risks of the Russian economy. By many estimates, Russian macroeconomic policy is one of the most effective in the world. There are no prerequisites for hyper-inflation and it is not expected yet. A common feature for countries is high dependence on oil exports, which determines the vulnerability of the economy. At the same time, factors of vulnerability and risks are not only dependence on the international market, which determines oil prices, but also the concentration of administrative resources around the oil sector, which sets the tone for the entire economy. But the risks remain. That is why the organizers gave the discussion such a name.

Sanctions remain the key challenge for Russia. The contribution of sanctions to reducing GDP is, according to various estimates, from 1 to 1.5% per year. The ruble exchange rate depends largely on the conjuncture of oil prices, but also on the interest in the Russian market. Sanctions significantly reduce the interest of foreign investors. The effect of sanctions also entails an outflow of capital from the country, which in 2017 amounted to about $ 20 billion (approximately 1.5% of GDP). The strongest impact of the sanctions had on the financial and oil sector. In certain areas of the oil and gas industry, technical sanctions have had a very strong effect. About 90% of key technologies for extracting hydrocarbons on the shelf are foreign.

The increased volatility of the ruble exchange rate is becoming one of the key risks associated with the possible further expansion of sanctions. In addition to the threats to the financial stability of the Russian Federation associated with sharp fluctuations in prices and profitability of financial assets, this factor destabilizes foreign economic cooperation, preventing the conclusion of long-term trade and investment contracts.

The EDSG experts took part in the discussions.

Link to the conference (in Russian)