Tags: russia | wealth | fund | investment | foreigners

Russia May Tap Wealth Fund for Investment as Foreigners Pull Out

Russia May Tap Wealth Fund for Investment as Foreigners Pull Out
(Valeriy Bochkarev/Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 07:20 AM

Russia may start spending its National Wellbeing Fund on local projects next year as the Kremlin struggles to attract foreign investment for its $400 billion stimulus package to boost economic growth.

As the Finance Ministry moves to ease the budget rule, it will review any investments that make use of the fund with the central bank in order to assess any possible monetary impact, First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters Saturday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“Foreign investment is falling, we need internal investors,” Siluanov said. “We could deploy the funds on the understanding that they would be returned and in projects that attract investment from private businesses.”

The Finance Ministry previously opposed investing the fund domestically because it could lead to an acceleration in inflation. It’s searching for money to implement President Vladimir Putin’s National Projects initiative, which he hopes will help to double the growth rate by the end of his current term in 2024. Russia has the lowest direct foreign investment as a percentage of economic output of any developing country.

The plan may meet resistance at the central bank, which has helped bring inflation down to historic lows. Governor Elvira Nabiullina said at the conference on Thursday that Russia needed structural reform to raise growth rates rather than to throw money at development.

‘Inflationary Risks’

“There’s the desire for an immediate impact here and now, and suddenly the question of state investment, spending from the National Wellbeing Fund that we’ve saved up, and softening monetary policy,” Nabiullina said. “Softening monetary policy when the real restraints are elsewhere will not provide growth but rather create new inflationary risks.”

Russia set up the National Wellbeing Fund to divert revenue from oil and gas sales in order to reduce the state budget’s exposure to price fluctuations. Its coffers swell when the price of oil, Russia’s most valuable export, rises above $40 a barrel.

The liquid part of the $59 billion fund is on track to reach 7% of gross domestic product this year, the level at which the Finance Ministry has said it will invest from it. Previously, the ministry said it may use the fund to invest in foreign markets, using Norway’s sovereign wealth fund as a model, or to provide financing for non-commodity exports.

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Russia may start spending its National Wellbeing Fund on local projects next year as the Kremlin struggles to attract foreign investment for its $400 billion stimulus package to boost economic growth.
russia, wealth, fund, investment, foreigners
381
2019-20-12
Wednesday, 12 June 2019 07:20 AM
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