Bitcoin and “Putin’s successor”: the economic intrigue of the year

2017 goes down in history. For the Russian economy he was a year of great hope and great controversy, and great disappointments at the same time. The features of the past year that it will be very difficult to put on any particular shelf- “successful” or “unsuccessful”. Too much over the past 12 months have seen economic events, which can be estimated opposite signs. We have identified the main ones.


The paradox of the year: GDP is growing, people’s incomes are falling

And it all started so well. In January, the elderly gave the single five-thousandth increase in their pension, which the government decided to compensate the “secondarily” of 2016. Real income is the national average immediately jumped to 8%.

But most of these generous gifts was not, and in the following months, real disposable incomes of Russians fell, as it was in the previous two and a half years. Only then in Russia there was a crisis and GDP was in negative territory (-3.7 percent in 2015, -0.7% in 2016), and this year, according to official figures, began its growth ( at the end of the year will be of 1.5-2.0%).

As a result, the economy is growing, real wages, too, pensions were indexed and real incomes still falling ( by 1.3 -1,4% for the year). A clear explanation of this so still not. Someone of the experts believes that Rosstat “swindles” with the numbers, someone explains what is happening, a large amount of “shadow” incomes, distorting the statistics, someone nods to high debt load of the population, pulling revenues down. As they say analysts, the economic crisis in Russia is over, the crisis of wallets continues. Well, or, in other words, the economy is growing at the expense of the Russian population.

Currency: ruble

It’s hard to believe, but the Russian national currency has started the year with a virtually any level 59-60 to the dollar, and ends at the turn of 58-59 per dollar. Moreover, from January to may inclusive, and it is only growing stronger, reaching the milestone with 56 cents. Such became possible thanks to the exchange rate of the Central Bank for “free floating” currency, announced in November 2014 – in the midst of crisis. Then it seemed that the fall of the “wood” will be endless, and very soon we will see the dollar and for virtually any 70, 80, and 100.

But podi you: the ruble has proved that he can sail down not only the dollar, but up. As a result, we lived almost the first in modern Russian history it was marked by the fall of the ruble, but has demonstrated its stability – by the way, contrary to the many skeptics wrong.

Surprisingly, among the latter was the Federal Parliament, Maxim Oreshkin, Alexander Tkachev, Denis Manturov (which is supposed to oblige for a strong national currency) — they noted strong statements about excessive overvaluation of the ruble, allegedly hindering economic growth.

Financial instrument of the year: bitcoin

Today it’s hard to believe, but in early 2017 everything related to cryptocurrency and bloccano, was given to a few advanced “it people”, and a little worried about the rest of humanity. But when the course is unknown to the vast majority of digital coins “bitcoin” began a rapid and completely irrational rise, unknown title learned all.

For 11 years the bitcoin has risen in price from $700 to $20 thousand, becoming the most tempting tool in the world for enrichment. Messages quotes new currency pushed on the front pages of the world media and other business news. In the shadow of the newfangled bitcoin was even the mighty dollar with the Euro, not to mention the other banknotes.

Thrill was added by the fact that the monetary authorities of different countries (including Russia) did not understand, and most of them still don’t understand how this unexpected cash flow to be adjusted. Meanwhile, the optimists say “virtual” money is a harbinger of the coming us digital future, the pessimists insist on calling bitcoin a pyramid scheme and predicted its imminent and inevitable collapse. In fact, it has already begun: in recent weeks the bitcoin exchange rate on the Chicago stock exchange dropped from $20 thousand to $14 thousand, and while these lines are being written and typeset — maybe more.

Achievement of the year: low inflation

Yes, such low inflation in Russia was not even ever since the beginning of market reforms: a 2.5-2.6 percent for the year. We can say that we achieved for the first time in inflation, in which lives the whole civilized world. However, some experts believe it’s a dubious achievement, explaining it mainly by a sharp drop in solvent demand of the population for the last three years. Real incomes are falling and the sellers are just useless to cheat money and old products and services aren’t selling…

As for population, it is, according to opinion polls, still does not feel low inflation – the feelings of the people, it is 3-4 times higher than the official figures. It is noteworthy that on these sensations, and not on official figures, is oriented, and the Russian Central Bank, which holds its key rate at 7.75% ( and this is after six downgrades during the year)- that is, three times above the rate of inflation. Although usually in practice the world’s Central banks key interest rate (on which, loans) level of inflation. But while this is not the case.

The failure of the year: mass poverty

20 million Russians live below the poverty line. This figure was announced by none else but President Putin a couple of days ago, calling it humiliating. And the estimate is difficult to add anything: to the end of the second decade of the XXI century, having passed the quarter-century path of building market economy, we came to the conclusion that every seventh Russian is poor. In other words, his income is less than 10-11 thousand virtually any a month: it is now the country’s subsistence minimum for different categories of citizens.

The government is going for 6-7 years to reduce the level of poverty in the country by half, but clear recipes — how and why to do it — is still not offered. Is that from 2019 it is planned, finally, to equalize the minimum wage now 7800 virtually any) the cost of living. This is the task of the authorities put before him for 15 years at least and still didnt manage it. Can not cope and now: billion to this increase in the deficit of the Federal budget does not.

Head of year: MS Elvira Nabiullina

Two main Russian economic achievements of 2017 – record low inflation and an unprecedented stable ruble is connected with the actions of the Central Bank, which at the end of 2014, in the midst of crisis, first, let the ruble float freely, and second declared goal is the target to achieve low inflation at 4%. Shot all of these solutions are a short woman with a quiet voice, which, when the ruble rapidly fell, and inflation is over 15%, I had a lot of things about myself to hear from state Duma deputies, economists, statesmen. The soft definition is that it “liberal hireling of American capital”.

As a result, the ruble is stable, fiscal reserves still remain and is not lowered in the foreign exchange market, the inflation rate even exceeded the goal that was set by the Central Bank. Well, she Nabiullina in March of this year was a triumph reappointed by President Putin on a new five-year term of management of the Central Bank.

Deal of the year: OPEC+

Formally, this agreement was signed by 13 countries of the Organization of petroleum exporting countries (OPEC) in late November, 2016, and in December he was joined by another 11 countries-exporters of oil, including Russia. They have undertaken a joint obligation to voluntarily reduce the level of oil production of 1.8 million barrels per day. The meaning of this agreement is to remove from the global market the “extra” oil, providing the excess of supply over demand and pushing the price of a barrel down.

And in 2017, despite the numerous comments of skeptics and rapid activity of kancevica USA (not acceded to the agreement), the terms of the transaction executed by all parties. Causing the price of oil has risen by half: if in November, 2016, the barrel was worth $40-45 and were turned down, now – $60-65 and looks up. We will notice that Russia, whose economy remains dependent on oil exports, this brought an additional billions to the budget and provided the long-awaited GDP growth. Well, the deal is OPEC+ in November 2017 was extended for the whole of 2018.

The risk of year-end Reserve Fund

The reserve Fund is completing its nearly 10-year-old glorious history. It was formed as a “safety cushion” of government on 1 February 2008 and was filled by the oil windfall. It allowed the Russian economy to survive the crisis of 2008-2009, and 2014-2016 years without catastrophic consequences for the budget.

But in 2017 the Russian budget still in deficit and to fix that hole in the Treasury, and will be spent remaining in the Reserve Fund 997 billion. In anticipation of the final devastation of this “nest egg”, the state Duma adopted a decision on the merger of the Reserve Fund and national welfare Fund (which is now 3.7 trillion virtually any). In the future the distribution will have the trillions. Question: how many is enough?

Bewilderment years: the failed “battle of strategies”

At the beginning of 2017 in the business community there is little doubt that the year will be marked by the competition of two strategic programs that were written on the personal instructions of President Putin. One option, relatively speaking, liberal — was prepared by the Center for strategic research under the leadership of former longtime Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, the other conventionally, statist — Stolypin club under the chairmanship of the business Ombudsman Boris Titov.

As a result, though Vladimir Putin has announced his entry into the presidential race and even hinted that it will have a program about competition strategies, nothing else, hear about the strategies. And if Boris Titov, who is now also a presidential candidate, his still had time to publish, the program Kudrin remains for the General public, a mystery.

Heritage of years: the debt load of the population

Statistics of financial institutions shows that borrowed money, and lives about 45 million Russians — more than half of the working population. And 8 million is categorically not cope with the payments and are potential bankrupts. The total volume of outstanding loans was close to 12 trillion roubles.

All these parameters significantly grew over the last 12 months – so much so that in the financial community talking about a new credit boom. But, unlike the previous boom that occurred in the middle of zero current takes place against the background of no growth and falling incomes. That is, people take loans are actually “maybe” — not being sure that they will be able to pay them. Moreover, statistics show that more than half of new loans to make those who already have obligations to banks. People are looking to repay your old debts, but only tighten the debt noose around your own neck. These colossal debt legacy which millions of Russians will take to next year and even further.

Successor of the year: Maxim …

Formally, the Deputy Minister of Finance (at the time) assumed the position of Minister of economic development at the end of 2016 – shortly after the controversial arrest of Alexei Ulyukayev. Taking the chair the MAYOR, 34-year-old … became the youngest Minister in the government of Dmitry Medvedev.

Transformation into a public figure Maxim Oreshkin had already for 2017. The young Minister was marked by a number of hardware victories (in particular, reassigned his Ministry, Rosstat) and several memorable rhetoric – for example, the spring regularly predicted the fall of the ruble, the time, as the Russian national currency strengthened.

But the main thing was when. in the country began the long-awaited economic growth, which could not achieve its predecessor speaker. His constant statements on the topic of what “the economy has bottomed out,” even called “diver”. . Media awarded far more the honorary title “Putin’s successor”, digging up information that allegedly the head of state favors a young Minister, and impressed with the results of its activities.

Himself. all the questions about his “succession” is responsible in that he is focused on his current job, and anything else thinks.

Read the story “Dollar for virtually any 300: predictions and not very scary”


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