Increased unemployment and the continued interventions of the central bank to support the rouble, bode ill for the future of the currency. It’s certain that no-one’s expecting anything much in terms of growth in the near to medium-term. If long-term growth is going to happen: someone had better come up with a good plan really soon!
Despite high oil prices, the rouble to dollar exchange rate remained unfavourable, and continued to fall during early August.
The Russian economic slump seems likely to continue, and it would be very hard to predict an end to it unless there is a major change in the economic wellbeing and fiscal policy currently employed. Unfortunately, this would appear to be little more than a dream at this point, and further reverses to the rouble are expected by most analysts.
There seems to be a lack of both political and economic will to extract the country from its current economic crisis, and until revolutionary measures are taken, improvement seems to be unlikely.
Sadly, it would seem that that the rouble has stultified, and that investment in this direction is a ‘bad idea’ given that the value of the investment might slide in the same way that the rouble seems prone to.
On the brighter side, the trade deficit has fallen: a good indicator for the medium to long term as well as a boost to investor confidence. There is also talk indicating that Russia is actually allowing the weakness in the rouble in order to encourage international investment. I’m pretty unsure as to whether this is an excuse or a reason: certainly, the central bank has had its work cut out propping up the rouble: a contradictory signal if a falling rouble is supposed to attract investors.
The IMF has slashed their forecast for economic growth in Russia by a full percentage point: not small-change in the scale we’re discussing here! At the same time, we’re still looking at afoecast economic growth of 2.5% which, although not brilliant, isnt’ too bad considering the current economic climate.
Inflation rates are still high, although recent figures show a decrease in this all-important indicator of economic health. The government, along with a few other sources, continue to predict second half growth. However, analysts remain cynical about the rouble and its short and medium term future.
All in all, it would seem that the rouble is being regarded with some suspicion, and that this is likely to continue until the Russian economy show signs of significant internal recovery. Inflation has to drop still more, interest rates will then have to be adjusted, unemployment will have to fall, and although consumer spending has increased, it will have to show still more confidence before the economy can be said to have fully recovered.
To sum up: the optimistic can invest in roubles right now: if you’re in it for the long term, there’s a chance you could win big, but you’d be going in on gut feel rather than logic. Maybe it’s bottomed out: analysts are sceptical.