President Vladimir Putin spoke with Rossiya 24 TV channel, transcribed by RT News, on Thursday, indicating the worst of the virus-indued recession is over for the Russian economy.
“We believe the peak of our problems has passed, and I hope we will gradually begin to recover,” Putin said. “We are not much different from other countries in the world – I think our recovery will be secured next year.”
Putin said the country’s macroeconomic backdrop is stable following a deep plunge in economic activity earlier this year due to coronavirus lockdowns. He said low inflation levels and increasing gold reserves had put the national economy on a pathway towards recovery.
Putin reiterated, as he did in June (see: “Putin Says US Social Unrest Show “Deep-Seated Internal Crises”), his government’s quick response effort to contain the virus has been much better than the US. He noted then, that President Trump’s poor handling of the pandemic and social unrest signaled “deep-seated internal crises” in the West.
Just weeks ago, Putin unveiled the world’s first approved COVID-19 vaccine. However, safety and efficacy data of the drug has yet to be released. A vaccine widely available in the country could accelerate recovery in 2021.
Putin pointed out Russia continues to boost precious metals purchases and increase FX reserves to $590 billion.
“This creates an additional safety cushion … It’s not a panacea for all ills, but it is important,” he said, adding that the holdings allow the government to fund budgets and fulfill social obligations.
The Russian economy is expected to contract eight percent this year. Putin said the plunge won’t be as bad at that, expected to fall around five and six percent range.
Recovery hopes in Russia were seen in a recent Reuters poll, with respondents revealing the MOEX stock index could hit new highs in 2021.