Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Roubini : Russia Oil and Economic Growth

Nouriel Roubini : Russia used to grow at 8 percent a year between 1998 and 2008. Then the global financial crisis happened and there was a contraction, but since then their economic record has been between 3.5 to 4 percent -- even with oil prices going from $30 a barrel in 2009 to well above $100 now. And the problem with Russia is that unless you do structural reforms by reducing the role of the government in the economy and state-owned enterprises, and developing the private sector more -- unless you do a variety of market-oriented structural reforms -- the potential growth rate of Russia may not be much higher than 4 percent. And in an economy where there's a huge amount of rent extraction occurring because of an excessive reliance on oil, energy, and raw material, and as long as those prices are high, the incentive to do reforms is going to be limited. Yes, now there's a movement especially in Moscow and in the middle classes that is resisting him. But Putin won. We'll see how much that is a reflection of the majority vote as opposed to ballot rigging. He may be slightly weakened compared to what he was a year ago, and he might be nudging a little more to the center and offering slightly more reforms than he would have otherwise done, but in my view reforms in Russia are going to occur at a mediocre, suboptimal pace relative to what's desirable. They'll be cosmetic rather than radical. - in
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