Since the Russian Ruble troughed at almost 80 RUB/USD, it has rallied an impressive 34% erasing most of the dramatic devaluation of December. However, as The CBR just announced, this 'strength' came at a price. Russia burned through $15.7 billion of reserves in the week ending Dec 19th - the biggest percentage weekly drop in reserves since Jan 2009, leaving reserves below $400 billion (still a significant amount) for the first time since Aug 2009. While CBR explained much of this will come back as repo trades mature, Vladimir Putin turned inward, blaming the government for "defects" in restructuring the economy.
The Ruble has soared in the last 2 weeks...
On the heels of the biggest intervention in almost 5 years...
- *RUSSIAN INTERNATIONAL RESERVES FALL $15.7B IN WEEK TO DEC. 19
- *RUSSIAN INTERNATIONAL RESERVES AT $398.9B
- *BANK OF RUSSIA SAYS DROP IN RESERVES MOSTLY DUE TO FX REPO
- *BANK OF RUSSIA: FUNDS USED IN FX REPO WILL RETURN TO RESERVES
- *RUSSIA RESERVES ALSO FELL ON REVALUATION AS USD GAINED VS EURO
But, as Sputnik news reports, it's not just external factors, Putin points his finger internally...
The difficulties in Russia’s economy are not only because of outside factors, including sanctions, but also because the government has not worked out some defects, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
“The difficulties that we have run into carry not only an outside factor. They are not solely tied to some sorts of limitations of sanctions or limitations tied with the objective international environment, they are tied to our not working out defects that have accumulated over the years,” Putin said during a government meeting in Moscow.
Putin said the government has taken efforts in order to change the structure of the economy in order to give it a more innovative nature, but said the efforts were below the needed measures.
“Much has been done in this but the latest events have shown that this is insufficient,” Putin added.
Russia is currently facing an economic slowdown, with dramatic fluctuations seen recently in the value of the Russian ruble against the US dollar and the euro.
The weakening of the Russian national currency is attributed to low oil prices. The sale of oil accounts for a significant part of Russian budget revenues. Economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis are also cited among the reasons for the economic slump.
During a December 18 televised press conference, the Russian president said that the country's economic situation could begin to improve in the first quarter of 2015, with Russia's economy recovering completely over the next few years.
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Still it's not like $400 billion is going to disappear tomorrow - for those proclaiming Russia's imminent default. (CDS imply a mere 5% probability of default over the next year based on 25% recovery assumptions)