10 things you need to know about Russia

Russia's economic crisis, explained
Russia's economic crisis, explained

President Vladimir Putin has used his end of year news conference to blame the oil price collapse and Western sanctions for Russia's financial crisis.

Here are 10 things you need to know about the Russian economy:

Ruble

The Russian ruble has lost about 45% of its value against the dollar so far this year, and at one point fell to a record low of 80 to the dollar. According to Bloomberg, the ruble is the worst performing of 170 world currencies in 2014.

Inflation

The central bank's original inflation target this year was 5%. The reality: 9.4% and rising.

Food prices have been soaring even more, and climbed 12.6% in November. This is partly due to a food import ban Russia imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions. Russian media say food prices could rise by as much as 25% this year.

Interest rates

Russia's central bank raised its key interest rates from 10.5% to 17% last week -- the largest single hike since the country defaulted on its debts in 1998. It was the latest of six hikes this year aimed at defending the ruble and capping inflation.

Recession looming

The IMF expects Russian growth to be wiped out this year. GDP is forecast to rise by just 0.2% in 2014. Russian officials have said the economy could shrink by almost 5% next year if the price of oil stays at $60 a barrel.

Oil

Oil prices have sunk as low as $55 per barrel, a level not seen in five years. This drop is hurting Russia, as half of government revenue comes from oil and gas exports.

Capital flight

The central bank now predicts capital flight of around $130 billion this year and a further $120 billion next year.

Currency reserves

Russia holds around $416 billion in foreign currency reserves -- down 21% compared to last year.

Foreign debt

The Russian government, its banks and companies have about $678 billion worth of foreign currency debt. Of that, about $130 billion will have to be repaid this year and next.

Deficit

Russia will run a budget deficit of around 2% in 2015, depending on oil prices. That's still small by comparison with many other countries and Russia does not have a large sovereign debt burden.

Budget cuts

But the looming deficit has forced Putin to order a minimum 5% cut in government spending in 2015. Defense and national security are the only departments to be spared.

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