Situation in Russian economy, ruble’s exchange rate stabilizing, says Putin

NOVO-OGARYOVO, April 18. /TASS/. The situation in the Russian economy is stabilising, while the ruble’s exchange rate is returning to the levels of early February, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting on economic issues on Monday.

“Russia has withstood this unprecedented pressure. The situation is stabilising, the ruble’s exchange rate has returned to the levels of the first half of February and is being defined by the objectively strong payment balance,” he said.

The surplus of the current account of balance of payments in Russia exceeded $58 bln in Q1, “hitting a fresh all-time high,” the president said, adding that foreign exchange cash is returning to the country’s banking system and the volumes of deposits of citizens are rising.

Inflation in Russia is stabilising now, Putin pointed out. “I will separately note the inflation issue. It is stabilizing now,” he said, adding that “consumer prices grew notably over the last 1.5 months – by 9.4%, while in annual terms as of April 8 inflation amounted to 17.5%.”

According to the president, Russia’s long-term financial stability both at the federal and regional level should remain the key task for the country’s authorities. A record level of surplus of the budget system was registered for the first quarter of this year, he noted.

“Additional decisions are required here, and it is necessary to implement them right at the moment when the economy needs it most of all,” Putin said, adding that “the long-term stability of financial system both at the federal and regional level remains a key condition”.

Domestic demand support measures

President Vladimir Putin pointed out that Russian authorities needed to support the domestic demand, including by improving availability of loans for the business.

“It is critical to support the internal demand at present, avoid its superfluous contraction,” the Russian leader said. “Actions should be taken down the line of the budgetary system and by supporting greater availability of credit resources for the business,” Putin said.

The latter refers to the sphere of operations of the Central Bank, the head of state said. “The Central Bank has already initiated reduction of the key rate, which will certainly make credits in the economy more cheaper,” he added.

Inventories in Russian retail chains

According to the President, stocks in Russian retail chains are recovering and the demand has normalized.

“The retail demand has normalized after a short-term panic buying of certain goods – and this constantly, always occurs in such situations. Stocks in retail chains are being recovered,” Putin said.

Russian authorities “made a proper step when they did not resort to manual, artificial market regulation, but offered freedom to the private business instead to look for the most suitable, efficient solutions,” the head of state said.

“Exactly such solutions made possible to support smooth deliveries of goods to the retail chain, availability of required products in stores,” Putin added.

Unemployment rate

Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the number of officially registered unemployed individuals in Russia remained at a rather low level.

“Creation of new, well-paid jobs, strengthening of economic dynamics, development of the industry and other sectors” are the key condition to secure actual growth of people incomes, Putin said. “The current situation there is stable in broad terms,” the head of state noted.

“This can be judged in particular by such indicator as electric power generation. This is a good indicator evidencing dynamics in the economy. The number of officially registered unemployed individuals is also at a fairly low level,” Putin said.
RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCY