Bloomberg caught oligarch Oleg Deripaska at a meeting in China a couple of days ago. You can watch the video here. Deripaska spends much of the 5 minute interview trying to reassure investors, saying the Russian economy is ‘stable’. But he also criticises the Russian Central Bank’s monetary policy several times, and blames Russia’s current financial difficulties like capital flight (now estimated at $100 billion, though some say it could be at least double that) on the fact that the government is too focused on the crisis in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Brent & Urals crude continue to fall.
Russia needs between $110 and $117 per barrel to finance its spending, which means the Kremlin can’t be happy as it watches Brent prices continue to drop. Combined with an already weak economy, Russia could see its $19 billion surplus become a deficit by the end of the year.
Rosneft’s request for access to “Gazprom’s planned natural gas export pipeline” has been rejected. Allegedly, the Russian government refused to back either side in the dispute. “A final decision may take years.”
The European Union released [pdf] its latest round of sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. There are not really any surprises in the document. Most of it had already been leaked over the past week or so. The names are mostly MPs and some alleged eastern Ukrainian leadership, though they did hit RosTec CEO Chemezov (already on US list). Rosneft, Transneft, and GazpromNeft were all named, as were United Aircraft Corp, and Almaz-Antei, among others.
The United States has said it will release another round of sanctions today as well. Reuters reports that Sberbank will be targeted, and will further “limit the access of major Russian banks, including Sberbank, to U.S. debt and equity markets”.
Finally, on the Ukraine front: