Russia Bleeds $146 Bln Capital Over 21 Months

Private capital flight from Russia hit $146 billion over the last twenty-one months, with investors withdrawing funds virtually every month, despite the government’s assurances of a trend reversal, Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported on Wednesday citing a survey by the Higher School of Economics.

“From July 2010 to April 2012, net private capital outflow amounted to $146 billion. Capital was seen to flee Russia virtually every month, except August 2010 and June 2011, although the government and the Central Bank of Russia predicted with enviable stubbornness a reversal of financial flows in a month or two,” the report said.

Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev told a Russian economic forum in Switzerland in late March that already by May Russia would boast capital inflow once the political uncertainty in the wake of presidential elections was over.

“Further on, a lot will depend on how investors view the post-election situation, i.e. on how adequately they assess the formation of a new Cabinet, its agenda and first steps, and, naturally, how much the capital account will change,” Ulyukayev said.

“While the capital account deficit stood at $13.5 billion in January and $9 billion in February, this shortage may give way to a surplus within a short period of time. In principle, we can expect a double surplus – a surplus of the current and capital accounts – beginning in May,” he said.


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