On Wednesday, the IMF should publish in Moscow the next forecast for the world and Russian economy. No one is waiting for surprises, there is no fear that they will impose something like mysterious structural reforms on us or, God forbid, a new stage of privatization. It seems that from the IMF forecast, the long-promised 1,7 percent of GDP growth will not go anywhere. And yet, one must think, the experts of the foundation will surely chide Russia at least for something.
And above all, according to Konstantin Vyshkovsky, head of the external debt department of the Russian Ministry of Finance, for an increase in the debt burden on the budget. Which among us, by the way, may finally turn out to be in surplus. Where does an expert have such confidence in expectations? It is possible that from the ratings of leading rating agencies and analysts of Bloomberg published on the eve of the annual performance of IMF specialists.
Fitch and Moody's rating agencies simply did not go into details and kept Russia's debt ratings unchanged. Well, thank you for that, although even according to the current trends, changes in debt obligations are obvious: the country began to occupy more and more not in foreign countries, but in the domestic market, where it is supposedly very bad with potential creditors. Sberbank and VTB do not count: the purchase of state securities from their side is nothing but the transfer of funds from one pocket to another. And both pockets - state.
On the other hand, Bloomberg company experts spoke out unexpectedly harshly towards Russia. And precisely because, in their opinion, there is no reason for the Russian authorities to have such large-scale and expensive borrowings (at 7,3 per cent per annum). We do not argue, although the strangeness of the situation, when the country receives additional oil and gas revenues, but is forced to get into debt, is caused, in fact, for purely technical reasons.
More precisely, the whole thing is in the so-called budget rule, which requires the Russian Central Bank to redeem all the currency, which is obtained due to the excess in the oil prices of the key mark in 40 dollars per barrel. The reasons for the rise in prices are not a secret for anyone - this is another extraordinary exacerbation of the situation in the Middle East, specifically around Iran, which with a high degree of probability can be used to reduce the export of black gold.
It would seem that Russia should only win from such a deal. If it were not for one "but." To buy the currency need rubles. And not just a lot, but a lot of rubles. Turning on the printing press and printing them would be a blatant violation of all laws that the current financial authorities themselves once wrote for themselves. You have to ask for a debt. And in debt for rubles, which is still obviously more expensive than in euros or dollars. Although the difference in percentages is not so great at all - 7 with a small percentage of annual interest in Russia versus 3-3,5 percent abroad.
As a result, already in the current fiscal year, according to the estimates of the same Ministry of Finance, borrowing volumes, mainly through OFZ (federal loan bonds) will be a record. At the same time, the issue of sovereign debt securities will be governed by the exchange rate. The fact that, after another portion of American sanctions, this course, contrary to all expectations, did not collapse, but is now growing, is known in Russia even to schoolchildren. Experts on this occasion say something like the following: “Changes in the budget are based on higher assumptions about oil and imply a strengthening of the ruble, and consequently, a revision in the direction of revising the plans for production”. The release plans, as you understand, of those OFZs.
Experts of the Russian Ministry of Finance not for the first time recalculate certain indicators for a particular real or projected exchange rate. According to the latest calculations, every ruble lost by the dollar in the course of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation costs the Ministry of Finance 80-85 billion rubles now. It turns out that, by introducing sanctions, the Americans, in a sense, helped the Russian budget. We were frightened, but we were not scared, and having survived the crisis, we are now actually preparing to experience abundance. Currency abundance, of course.
The recalculation is quite consistent with the new fiscal realities: the money from both the customs and the tax authorities is now receiving much more than could be expected. But the Ministry of Finance has to go into debt. Perhaps that is why the Minister of Finance, and now First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov, not so long ago came up with a truly "revolutionary" initiative to abolish the 100-percent sale of foreign exchange earnings. After all, a ruble in the state box office may simply not be enough.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Finance has managed to increase its targets for domestic borrowing in 2018 by more than a quarter, and specifically by 28 percent, to 1,04 trillion. rubles (in dollars it is almost 17 billion). From the mouth of First Deputy Prime Minister Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, we learned that if this year prices for Russian oil averaged 54-55 dollars per barrel, purchases of foreign currency will double to more than 2 trillion. rubles. If the price for Urals is about 60 dollars, which we are seeing today, they will soar up to about 2,8 trillion. rubles.
Something like that in Russia was six or seven years ago, when reserve funds began to accumulate at the expense of “extra” oil money. Now, too, there is a real prospect of excess of income over expenditure - according to various estimates, by 350-500 billion rubles, that is, by 0,3-o, 5 percent of GDP. And in order not to go into printing rubles, which is fraught with all possible inflation risks, the government, in fact, is forced to increase the attraction of capital within the country.
However, the fact that the Russian Ministry of Finance sells OFZs within the country does not quite correspond to reality, and does not even correspond at all. More than a third of these securities are bought by American investors. Despite the sanctions and everything related to them. Against such a high yield (sorry for repetition, more than 7 percent per annum), coupled with almost 100-percent reliability, no investor can resist.
It seems to be okay - the United States has been doing just that for over a hundred years. And everything is fine. For many years now, more than half of the notorious American debt is a debt to its own citizens, to American banks and companies. It seems that Russian financial authorities are not ready to make such long-term commitments to “their own”. As they say, that put Jupiter ...
In order to “vparivat” to the population almost a third of the salary with bonds, one must, probably, be the “leader of nations” himself or his people's commissar, and then the minister of finance Arseny Zverev.