The Russian Federation is a founder and a major participant of the Bank holding a participatory interest amounting to two thirds of the Bank’s charter capital (US$1 billion).
In Q4 2015, Russia's GDP did not demonstrate any significant dynamics, except for purely seasonal changes. The economy remained stagnant after significant slowdown in the first six months of the year. In these conditions, the comparative base effect diminished the significance of annual recession indicators. As a result, GDP reduction in 2015 was 3.7% compared to 2014. The Ministry of Economy estimates that in Q4 this indicator was 3.6%, which was lower than in Q2 and Q3 (4.6% and 4.1% respectively). As for the economic sectors, a significant decline was shown in processing, trade and construction (5.5%, 10.1% and 7.5% respectively), while agriculture, mining and healthcare demonstrated growth (3.5%, 1.1% and 0.3%).
The depreciation of the national currency in the autumn and winter because of falling oil prices accelerated to a certain extent the growth in prices: the monthly CPI growth increased from 0.4% in August to 0.8% in December. Despite this, the comparison base effect (inflation speeded up significantly in the end of 2014) helped to reduce the annual CPI growth to 12.9% as at end-December, as against 15.8% in August and 15.7% in September. However, excessive monthly inflation–from the point of view of the Bank of Russia's objectives–made the central bank abstain from weakening its monetary policy and keep the interest rate at 11% (unchanged from August). Money supply continued to grow stably and increased in annual terms, reflecting the depletion of statistical slowdown effects in 2014 (related to the Central Bank's efforts to maintain the rouble exchange rate). Therefore, the M2 annual growth increased to 11.5% from 7.5% in September.
According to preliminary estimates, the current account surplus grew to US $13 billion in Q4, seasonality taken into account. Relative to GDP (3.2%), it was a little bit lower than in the previous year (3.4%). This happened for the first time in 2015. An explanation for this may be that the preliminary estimates overstate the nominal size of GDP in Q4 or that the period of the excessive consolidation of the balance of payments has ended (the lowering oil prices should result in a decrease in the current account surplus after the transition period). The net capital outflow in the private sector remained positive again after a pause in Q3 and totalled US $9.2 billion (2.2% of GDP). However, reserve assets continued to grow and increased by US $3.8 billion (0.9% of GDP).
The federal and consolidated budget deficits were 2.4% and 3.5% of GDP respectively. The former occurred to be lower than forecast by most experts during the year. The Reserve Fund and the National Wealth Fund amounted to 4.6% and 6.6% of GDP respectively (6.2% and 5.5% in 2014).
Lending growth rates went down by the end of the year but remained positive: the banks' claims to other economic sectors increased by 5.5% as at end-December. The capital adequacy ratio decreased slightly compared to Q3 (to 12.7% from 13%) and the share of non-performing assets grew to 8.3% from 8.2%.
EDB’s priorities in Russia
In the framework of its investment activities in 2013–2017:
• EDB will try to provide assistance to Russia in addressing the priority challenge of improving national competitiveness and labour productivity, and in creating conditions for efficient development of domestic and external markets as provided for by the “Main Directions of Activity of the Government of the Russian Federation for the Period until 2018”.
• In 2013–2017, EDB’s focus will be on financing: large-scale infrastructure projects in the area of power generation, transport, and communication; and projects in those high value added sectors that are not related to primary commodities. These include inter alia projects aiming to reduce the energy intensity of the economy and introduce resource and energy efficient technologies, and those aiming to ensure innovative development of the agro-industrial sector.
• One of the key objectives set by the Russian government is to improve the investment climate and Russia’s appeal for foreign investors. To this end, EDB will continue its efforts in providing technical assistance to create the International Financial Centre in Moscow.
• EDB will provide targeted financing for projects related to small and medium business development by implementing targeted programmes through the banking sector.