1 of 2 | Economists at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Russia's economy is performing better-than-expected due in part to export revenue. File photo by Mohamed Messara/EPA-EFE
Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The Russian economy is performing better than expected in the face of persistent external challenges, supported largely by export revenue from fossil fuels, OPEC economists said Thursday.
Russian Central Bank President Elvira Nabiullina said inflationary risks have increased dramatically, which is influencing the price of Russian exports of everything from natural gas to coal and crude oil.
"A further worsening of external conditions, including a potential tightening of the sanctions, is yet another material risk," she added.
Economists at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in the group's monthly market report for August that Russia's economy is nevertheless performing better than expected.
"The repercussions of the Eastern European conflict are apparent in indicators such as industrial production and exports," they wrote. "Nonetheless, the broader recovery seems to have remained intact, supported by robust revenues from the hydrocarbon sector and encouraging domestic demand trends."
Russia's economy may be supported by the spike in crude oil prices that followed supply-side concerns. Russia is part of OPEC+, a group of core members and non-member state allies, and joined Saudi Arabia recently in announcing production cuts, ostensibly due to concerns about the health of the global economy.
The price for Brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading near $86 per barrel on Thursday, some $10 per barrel higher than a month ago. Urals, the Russian benchmark, averaged $55 per barrel so far this year, beneath the $60 price cap imposed by Western powers.
OPEC's assessment is in contrast to perceptions from U.S. officials. Eric Van Nostrand, an acting assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department, said the price cap is working, with Russian oil revenues down nearly 50% from a year ago.
"Since implementation, this decline in Russian revenues has persisted even as Russian crude oil export volumes remain above 2021 average levels," he said.
The cap is meant to keep Russia flowing enough to avoid a global supply-side emergency while starving the Kremlin of the revenue it needs to keep fighting the war in Ukraine.