Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Moscow Times — Ruble Panic Recedes as Russians Start Selling Dollars

Russians sold more foreign currency than they bought in January for the first time in two years, the Central Bank said Wednesday, in a sign that last year's panic over the ruble has subsided.
The Russian currency went into meltdown in December as a months-long devaluation prompted by Western sanctions and oil price falls turned into a rout. Massive demand for dollars and euros among Russians exacerbated the ruble's plunge, which peaked on Dec. 17, when the ruble fell 20 percent against the U.S. dollar within a few hours of trading.

But the rout appears to have run its course for now, with demand for foreign cash falling sharply in January, according to data published by the Central Bank.
The Moscow Times
Ruble Panic Recedes as Russians Start Selling Dollars

Ruble strengthening in excess of that assumed in the 2015 budget would lead to both lower revenue and lower spending, meaning that the net impact on the budget will be neutral, First Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko said.

“The ruble exchange rate and the price of oil [assumed in the budget] are forecasts calculated as the annual average. Right now we are very close to those average annual figures. To speak of the possibility of a shift in the trends assumed in the forecast, then it is important to say that the ruble exchange rate affects revenue and spending,” Nesterenko told journalists on Wednesday when asked about the apparent stabilization of the ruble at a stronger level than that assumed in the budget (61.5 rubles/$1).

Very much budget spending depends on the ruble exchange rate, including external debt servicing and international obligations, she said.

“This could be a balanced effect for revenue and spending. We have fairly large foreign currency liabilities. Accordingly, they will also be recalculated,” Nesterenko said.

“If the trends change, if forecast estimates change, the first thing that will be done is to go to parliament and introduce amendments,” she said.

Johnson's Russia List
Effect of ruble strengthening nearly neutral for Russian budget – Nesterenko

This is pretty inconclusive but the current data is not too bad.
Johnson's Russia List
Russia’s economy in 2015 – more resilient than expected
Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia | Business New Europe

The best recent economic analysis remains Jon Hellevig — Russia Economic New Brief

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