Russia is going to run out the emergency cash it uses to buoy up its national budget by 2018, if oil prices do not rise soon, says the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
According to analysts cited by The Times, Russia is burning through its FX reserves at an alarming rate because one of the sectors that largely contribute to its economy — oil — is being hammered by the global crash in prices.
This week, Russia’s finance ministry revealed that the fund that is designed to cover shortfalls in the country’s national budget has shrunk to £23 billion ($30.6 billion), from £67 billion in 2014.
Oil prices have dropped from over $100 per barrel highs in June 2014, to around $46 per barrel. At one point this year, the oil price was flirting with the $20 per barrel mark. While it looks like oil is now recovering continually — it is not. Oil prices are struggling to get above and maintain a rise above $50 per barrel:
Oil prices have fallen dramatically due to over-supply in the market.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are two of the most important oil producers on the planet, with Saudi Arabia the de facto leader of the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations. Russia, alongside the USA, is one of the two biggest non-OPEC producers. The two nations’ oil policy has a profound effect on the markets.
At April’s OPEC meeting about a freeze in production, Saudi Arabia refused to cooperate unless Iran joined in any production freeze, and, as a result the meeting ended up as a damp squib.