State reserves of the Russian Federation. Expertise

The reserve fund of Russia for December was halved. In just one month, the government spent as much from it as in all the previous months of 2016. Does Russia have enough money?
As of January 1, 2017, 972.13 billion rubles remained in the Reserve Fund. In early December, the figure was 2.032 trillion. As it turned out, last month, the Ministry of Finance sold the Central Bank of Russia funds in foreign currency for 966 billion rubles to cover the budget deficit.
Earlier, the Ministry of Finance used the Reserve Fund three times for these purposes - in April, May and August - borrowing 390 billion rubles each time. That is, last December it was spent almost as much as in all previous months.
At the beginning of last year, the volume of the Reserve Fund amounted to 3.64 trillion rubles. In the aggregate for 2016, it decreased by 3.7 times. In total, in 2016, the Ministry of Finance planned to spend 2.14 trillion rubles from the Reserve Fund. In general, this amount coincided with expectations. The forecasts for the reserves of the Reserve Fund also coincided: in June, the head of the Ministry of Finance Anton Siluanov saidthat by the end of the year 900 billion rubles will remain in the accounts.
A cumulative fund in the form of surplus earnings from oil exports was established in 2004 First, the Stabilization Fund was formed, and since 2008 it has been divided into the Reserve Fund and the National Wealth Fund (NWF). In the mid-2000s, the idea of ​​creating sovereign “cups” was actively criticized, primarily due to the fact that the state instead of investing money in the development of competition, which could contribute to reducing inflation, invests money in itself, which in turn strengthens the role state in the economy and does not contribute to reducing monopolization. For the allegedly inefficient use of accumulated funds, there have been repeated calls for the resignation of Alexei Kudrin, then occupying the post of Minister of Finance of Russia. However, now the majority is inclined to believe that the creation of a backup cushion is more beneficial than harm.
Earlier, the Ministry of Finance has repeatedly warned that in 2017 the funds of the Reserve Fund will run out. However, this is not as critical as it may seem at first glance. The funds of the second sovereign fund - the National Wealth Fund in 2016 and earlier were practically not spent. Now its volume is 4.36 trillion rubles.Some of them are invested in securities of Russian issuers and on deposits with VEB, which brings additional revenues to the Russian budget. True, over the past year, the National Welfare Fund “lost” almost $ 1 trillion due to the strengthening of the ruble.
In 2017, it is planned to spend 668 billion rubles to cover the federal budget deficit from the National Wealth Fund. However, even if the NWF ends, Russia will remain able to fulfill its obligations to citizens, including social ones. First of all, the country retains a very substantial stock of other types of reserves that are not directly involved in the formation of the economy, but contribute to the stable position of our country in the global financial and economic system.
So, Russia has international reserves (they are also called gold and currency) —this is highly liquid foreign assets that are at the disposal of the Central Bank and the government. They consist of assets in foreign currency, monetary gold, special drawing rights (SDR), a reserve position in the IMF and other reserve assets. As of the end of 2016, their volume is 379.1 billion dollars.And for the week from December 16 to 23, they increased by $ 100 million.
Also, Russia is actively investing in US Treasury bonds. For example, in June last year, the volume of investments rose immediately by almost $ 3 billion - to 90.9 billion. In annual terms, the growth of the corresponding reserves amounted to 18.9 billion dollars.
Now Russia is ranked 16th among US bond holders. Since the main inflow of funds to Russia comes in dollars, one should not be surprised at the increase in investments in more profitable American securities, experts say. However, the Russian authorities are often criticized for this. The reason is the same as in the time with the Stabilization Fund - instead of developing its own assets, Russia invests in foreign ones.
Nevertheless, investing in US Treasury securities brings tangible economic benefits in the current situation. On the one hand, they bring the greatest income, and on the other hand, the guarantee of the return of such investments is extremely high, so the Russian government does not invest in risky securities.
As we see, reserves of reserves in Russia are still large. However, according to the Vice-Rector for the Development of the Academy of Labor and Social Relations,Doctor of Economics, Professor Alexander Safonov, especially not to worry about the exhaustion of the Reserve Fund. The expert said that he doesn’t like the way the fund’s assets are managed, but he also doesn’t see any reason for panic.
- What is happening now and why would I not spread panic? First, these two funds, unlike foreign funds, do not bring any special income. We have very poor management of these funds: 1.7% in foreign currency compared to 7% per annum given by the Norwegian fund. Therefore, taking into account the change in the national currency rate, the profit is insignificant.
Secondly, the cut-off price of revenues to the budget is at the level of $ 40 per barrel. Already, this price is higher and ranges from 49 to 57 dollars. The reverse process began, when, in accordance with the budget rule, excess cash flows to the Reserve Fund and the National Wealth Fund.
That is, a change in world oil prices and the establishment of this threshold - $ 40 per barrel - means that from next year, funds will accumulate in funds. Thirdly, the Ministry of Finance for 2015 - 2016. - Has sharply reduced expenses of the federal budget, thereby the potential deficiency which was estimated in very large sums, is reduced, - he has declared.
Alexander Deryugin, director of the Center for Studies of Regional Reforms of the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEI) of the RANEPA, shares the same opinion. He recalls that in addition to all the voiced instruments, Russia still has the opportunity to use such a financial instrument as loans, and it will allow it to stay afloat for a long time.
- Will the financial component of the country collapse? Of course not. First, because it is planned to reduce the real volume of expenses in 2017-2019. In addition, no one forbade the use of such a financial instrument as loans. We tried, unlike other countries, to minimally use this tool. But no one forbids its use in the future. It is normal when a country borrows in conditions of budget cuts. And we can talk not only about foreign loans. We remember that under the current US administration, banks, including non-US, received recommendations not to work with Russia, but domestic loans have no such restrictions.
Our accumulated national debt is small, so this promising tool for attracting income remains with us.In addition, we can further reduce costs. Therefore, I do not see any impending disaster in the budget plan. Bright prospects, however, too, but the disaster - certainly not.
Well, something like this.
The full version of the material with detailed comments of experts can be read here.
Links to the topic:
Over the year, Russia's reserves have more than halved
Funds found their own reserves
Russia's international reserves increased by $ 0.1 billion
International reserves of the Russian Federation
The reserve fund of Russia will run low in 2017.

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