As Russia’s economy show signs of improving, its Finance Ministry remains positive on the outlook yet doesn’t expect to let its guard down just yet.
“We see that the Russian economy has started to develop at a higher rate. It has come out of recession this year and we anticipate annual growth of around 2 percent,” Anton Siluanov, finance minister for Russia, told CNBC Tuesday via a translator.
This picture however wasn’t as buoyant back in 2015, when Russia was struggling to get itself out of a recession and was trying to remain steady despite a sharp decline in the oil price. Fast forward and Russia’s economy grew 0.5 percent in the first quarter year-on-year, Reuters reported this month, citing data from the Federal Statistics Service.
In recent weeks however, the nation has been caught up in political noise coming out of Washington, in regards to its relationship with the current U.S. administration. Despite any negative headlines coming out from U.S.-Russia relations, the ministry remains “interested in joint investments and partnership(s) with all our Western colleagues and partners, including with American business.”
“We welcome any investors in Russia and we are sure that these investments in Russia, these investments from business in Russia, will let them attain good yields, strong, reliable yields. So we are interested in the development of our relations with business in any country, including of course with American business.”
While Russia’s economy and government finances could be heading in the right direction, Siluanov admitted that the ministry couldn’t “always feel relaxed”, even with budget revenues improving.
“Our key task now is to prepare a new budget plan for the next three years. It will be no less important or difficult as we have to further reduce the dependence of the budget on the price of oil,” said the minister.
While Siluanov admitted that some results had already been achieved, including balancing the budget from the expectation of oil prices being at $100 per barrel to $60, the ministry would have to continue this trend to ensure that their “commitments were sustainable”, and not let external factors, oil or sanctions deviate from this.
“It’s no easy one and so we have to be under pressure for a few years to come to get the budget into a balanced position and not dependent on external factors.”