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Oil markets stable, Russian minister says

Kremlin expects growth to return to nation's economy by 2016.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Oil markets stable, Russian minister says
Kremlin expecting to emerge from economic chill as oil markets reach a level of stability, development minister says. Photo by Denis Larkin/Shutterstock

MOSCOW, June 22 (UPI) -- From the Russian perspective, the situation in the global crude oil market is starting to stabilize, the minister of economic development said.

Crude oil prices starting in June 2014 began a steady decline, dropping from levels above the $100 per barrel mark to below $50 per barrel in early 2015. A year on, Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said "the oil market has attained certain stability."

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Brent crude oil prices have hovered in a range between $63 per barrel and $65 per barrel for most of June. Oil prices have been responding to signs an oversupplied market scenario was easing in a tepid, but steadily growing, global economy.

Russia's currency, the ruble, plummeted in value early in 2015 as the low price of crude oil put pressure on an economy targeted by Western sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin's position on crises in Ukraine.

"I think the period of adaptation to the sanction regime is over," the minister said. "We are developing interesting investment projects linked with import substitution, with export support. I think the economy has adapted to the new conditions."

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In December, the World Bank said it expected Russia's real gross domestic product should contract by 0.7 percent. That forecast was based on oil priced at $78 per barrel.

Ulyukayev said growth for 2016 would be around 2 percent.

The Kremlin said the industrial sector may help offset some of the economic pain, but real disposable income should decline along with investment activity for the midterm.

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