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Russia and Baltic States
- 203 Russia mobilizes army to fight fires august 2010
- 202 The 2nd Wave Is Coming in Russia
- 201 Russia 2008 Travel Summary & Local laws and customs
- 200 Russia New legislation for real estate & tax rules may 2007
- 199 Russian ex-president Yeltsin dies
- 198 Journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been posthumously awarded
- 197 We must ask ourselves: Do we live in a society where corruption is a moral perversity to the normal flow of things? 28/9 2006
- 196 Transparency International listed Russia as one of the nations where perceived corruption had increased from the previous years survey, sep 2006
- 195 The Kremlin is warning Western governments july 2006
- 194 EU,US, Baltic States These countries have become the enemies in the new "chilly war" May 06
- 193 In fact, Russia is not so unique in having a problem with corruption -- indeed, most countries of the world operate in similar conditions 17 mai 06
- 192 Heads roll in anti-corruption drive 15 May 2006
- 191 Strong rebuke for the Kremlin - mai 2005
- 190 The energy ministers of the European Union (EU) have called on Russia to speed up the ratification of the Energy Charter, but Russia is not in a hurry to comply. April 06
- 189 Its a great story, but its an ugly one, too. Russia feb 2006
- 188 "The fish rots from the head." Indeed! jan 2006
- 187 Some estimates indicate that corruption in universities is rising by 7-10 percent annually, jan 2006
- 186 Russia Organized crime still remains a major challenge dec 2005
- 185 Russia’s Forestry Industry is perceived as one of the most corrupt in the world Nov 2005
- 184 Russia has reverted to the Wild East. But these days the crooks are the government. May 2005
- 183 U.N. Officials Cited in Oil - For - Food Case ´´take care´´ of ´´U.N. Official No. 1.´´ april 2005
- 182 UNDERSTANDING PALESTINIAN POLITICS , nov 2004
- 181 UNDERSTANDING TERROR NETWORKS, november 2004
- 180 PUBLIC THEOLOGY AND DEMOCRACYS FUTURE
- 179 Jan 20, 2004, When a leader who is trusted goes into battle, he must not be left alone
- 178 There may be an element of poetic justice in Vladimir Gusinsky
- 177 RUSSIA Groups Urge Putin on Privatization
- 176 Putin wanted to discuss methods of battling corruption
- 175 Corruption Costs Russia USD 30 Billion a Year
- 174 More Russians Back in Davos Feb 2003
- 173 Police officers were secretly members of criminal groups
- 172 THE TURKISH FACTOR IN THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE POST-SOVIET SPACE
- 171 EU candidates face corruption issues Nov 2002
- 170 Assassination of Magadan Governor Valentin Tsvetkov,
- 169 The Resurgence of Lies and Disinformation
- 168 Oil and trade play part in U.N. debate on Iraq
- 167 Center-Right Wins Latvian Poll
- 166 Radio Liberty Stripped Of Status
- 165 Most visits to Lithuania are trouble-free
- 164 The Soviet secret police -- VChK, GPU, NKVD, KGB Top Secret Files Tell Story of Expulsion
- 163 The Men Who Tried to Topple Mikhail Gorbachev
- 162 No Fireworks for 10th Anniversary After 10 Year No 7
- 161 Fall of the Soviet Union Symbolized Death of an Idea 10 Year after No 6
- 160 Defenders Recount Their Moment of Glory 10 Year after no 5
- 159 Communist Party Comes Full Circle 10 Year after No 4
- 158 What Putin Did During The Coup
- 157 Economic Crash No One Saw Coming 10 year after no 2
- 156 The Coup 1991 - 2001 Ten Years after no 1
- 155 OPEC, Russia and Iraq
- 154 Iran has said it wants the sea split equally between the five while Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan
- 153 the worlds third-largest nuclear arsenal belonged to little Ukraine
- 152 The shortcomings of Russias bureaucracy are legion, its incompetence is legendary
- 151 ............called for Chubais to quit. sep 2002
- 150 $3Bln Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline Gets Under Way
- 149 LUKoil in Talks With Kidnappers
- 148 Berezovsky & "The Godfather" and "Citizen Kane."
- 147 Not All Listen to Putins Orders
- 146 In Russia, majority shareholders rights do not exist
- 145 United States has blacklisted three Russian defense contractors it says are "transferring lethal military equipment" to countries supporting terrorism
- 144 Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963..........the Pacific port of Vladivostok
- 143 The Dignity of Difference: Avoiding the Clash of Civilizations
- 142 Russian companies paid a total of 33.5 billion dollars in bribes
- 141 Duma member Vladimir Golovlyov shot dead in contract killing aug 2002
- 140 Putin issues Ethics Code for civil servants aug 2002
- 139 Latvia Premier signs decree on party financial declarations
- 138 Whatever Happened To Those Vouchers? Mr Putin?
- 137 Russia with Iran, and in particular its sale of nuclear technology
- 136 First Deputy Smolensk Governor Vladimir Prokhorov was shot and killed
- 135 Smuggling, da. Extortion, da. Murder, da.
- 134 Kremlin Kills Plan To Retake Resources
- 133 U.S. to Russia: Clean corruption up
- 132 Latvia Government decides on third competition to find anti-corruption chief
- 131 We do not give out any information!
- 130 "The U.S. Media -- Problems of Free Speech."
- 129 Defenders of the oligarch system in Russia liken the development to that of the robber barons in the United States and elsewhere
- 128 There Is a New Billionaire in Town
- 127 FREE PRESS in RUSSIA 2002, sorry its not
- 126 Russia Tracking down IMF billions Crime and Corruption Watch 27 Jun 2002
- 125 Russians pay for state corruption 07.2002
- 124 BUSHS SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND june 2002
- 123 A bribery arrest in Krasnoyarsk
- 122 Georg P Shultz THE WORK OF DIPLOMACY Before & after the 11 sep 2001
- 121 THE FUTILE SEARCH FOR "ROOT CAUSES" OF TERRORISM
- 120 CIA Will Continue Search for New Russian Technologies
- 119 Swiss to repay Russia over bail for corrupt ex-Kremlin adviser Borodin
- 118 Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus urged lawmakers to strengthen the fight against corruption
- 117 At present legal base for the transport and freight forwarding activities in the Russian Federation practically doesnt exist
- 116 Either the United States would cease to be a democracy or the Soviet Union would cease to be a Leninist dictatorship
- 115 Back to the USSR
- 114 From Russia With Love
- 113 "check that the paperwork was done correctly, but look right past the deeply corrupt heart of the matter
- 112 Stepashin Turns Up Heat on Ministers
- 111 After he refused to pay a police major a $20,000 bribe
- 110 With auditing today 10 years after the term arrived on the Russian market it turns out that everyone understands it differently
- 109 Putin said 7,000 killers had escaped punishment last year and that hundreds of thousands of other criminals
- 108 Majority of Russians believe Russia is among 10 most corrupt countries 02.02
- 107 He seems to have powerful patrons, and he is very smart The Corruption is still going on. Febr 02
- 106 Kremlin bailiffs pull the plugs on last independent television network jan 2002
- 105 GlavUpDK pays no taxes on the land it uses.
- 104 Indeed, last year Mr. Bush cited the 30 percent Russian.... January 25, 2002
- 103 Pugachyov is not some Putin protege plucked from obscurity TV 6 NTV jan 2002
- 102 Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be ushering in a new era
- 101 Two held in first criminal probe into Gazprom
- 100 During its eight years of operation, Estline never posted a profit 2002.01
- 99 Corruption remains major problem in Latvia "I dont see any light at the end of the tunnel", 2002
- 98 Putin warns audit chambers against politicisation . jan 02
- 97 Bosse Ringholm - Riksgälden och Flygförsäkringsmarknaden!
- 96 Work to curb economic crime, corruption not good enough - Russian minister 25 dec 2001
- 95 Putin Answers Russians´ Questions NYT 24 dec 2001
- 94 Russia there is only one easy and relatively inexpensive way to ship goods -- by rail
- 93 Chubais Doesnt Mind the Heat Over UES
- 92 And Gazprom will soon find out if it is next
- 91 The Yeltsin-era insiders career is over and a wider war on corruption is under way
- 90 Visa hassles for many tourists are to be reduced from feb 02
- 89 Ombudsman concerned with corruption at Russian border checkpoint
- 88 Probes Giving Ministers Jitters
- 87 Moscow Gets New Tool for Money Monitoring
- 86 RUSSIA: The government-criminal alliance
- 85 RUSSIA: Rankings Rain on Economic Parade
- 81 Foreign Policy Research Institute WATCH ON THE WEST
- 80 Are Bribes a Great Deal? Russia 2001?
- 79 The attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., 11 September 2001
- 78 U.S. Campaign Presents Benefits for Russia
- 77 Foreign Workers Face New Red Tape
- 76 The attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., 11 September 2001
- 75 Yakovlev Decree Sets Sights on Corruption
- 74 New Details in RusAl Murder Suit
- 73 Stealing the State, and Everything Else A Survey of Corruption in the Postcommunist World
- 72 St. Pete Should Brace for Capital Invasion
- 71 Why Does Russia Need Vertical Integration?
- 70 After a false start, Russia may at last be breaking free of the shackles of
- 69 "There is no place for a radio like Ekho Moskvy here anymore."
- 68 RUSSIA: Ethos of corruption in nuclear establishment
- 67 Baltic States Membership in NATO Unlikely
- 66 RUSSIA: Audit blasts $880 million Moscow charity scheme
- 65 RUSSIA: $10 billion per year foreign direct investment lost due to non-transparency says PwC
- 64 RUSSIA: Prosecutor vows to pursue extradition of media mogul
- 63 Corruption in Russian newspapers exposed
- 62 Putin tightens curbs on press with bank raid
- 61 Wife Says Russians Have Rediscovered Their Pride
- 60 Putin Moving to Control Russia on All Political Levels
- 59 Oligarch hits out at his Kremlin monster
- 58 Russian Journalists Targeted in Attacks Corruption Investigators Face Slashed
- 57 Putin Moving to Control Russia on All Political Levels
- 56 Oligarch hits out at his Kremlin monster
- 55 RUSSIA: MEDIA EXECUTIVE ORDERED ARRESTED, VOWS TO STAY OUT OF COUNTRY
- 54 WESTERN AID TO RUSSIA ``LACKING OVERALL STRATEGY``
- 53 USA: GAO AUDIT REPORT FINDS AID TO RUSSIA FAILED
- 52 GAO AUDITORS SAY AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT LAX IN HANDLING RUSSIAN FOOD AID
- 51 BANKS WORK WITH TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL TO ESTABLISH ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING PRINCIPLES
- 50 The High Price of Russias Military Improvement Plan
- 49 In Russia, Rich Get Poorer, Poor Get Poorer
- 48 Russia Makes me Nervous-Latvias Vike-Freiberga
- 47 RUSSIA: GIANT MEDIA FIRM CHARGED WITH FRAUD OVER ASSETS TRANSFERRED OFFSHORE
- 46 RUSSIA: ELECTRONIC ANTI-CORRUPTION PROPOSED USING THE INTERNET
- 45 Increasing the Risk of Investing in Russian Companies
- 44 Russian auditor confirms graft in Govt.
- 43 Swiss firms mafia links
- 42 Russia: Putin’s Coming Concession to the Oligarchs
- 41 Gridlock: All Trains Lead to Moscow
- 40 BEREZOVSKII SAYS KREMLIN THREATENS HIM OVER ORT SHARES
- 39 Russia continues to be an intensely dangerous place to work
- 38 The Long Arm of Organized Crime Reaches Deeply Into St. Petersburg's
- 37 RUSSIA
FEDERAL PROSECUTOR SEEKS TO OVERTURN PRIVATIZATION DEAL…
- 36 Russia Makes me Nervous
- 35 Putin Begins Crackdown on Russia's Oligarchs
- 35 Russia Formulates a Hybrid Economy
- 35 Regional Bosses Give Initial O.K. To Putin Move
- 34 Latvia Worried About Delay in NATO Baltic Expansion after Yugoslav War
- 34 Moscow Threatens "Hostile" Western Media
- 33 Russia’s Dwindling Population Ensures Rigid Foreign Policy
- 32 Paper Mocking Yakovlev Is Seized
- 31 Russians Plan To Jack Energy Prices
- 30 Moscow Budget
- 29 Baghdad, Belgrade and Moscow Collaborate Against Washington
- 28 Actualizing
the Alliance: Russia and China Move Toward a Pipeline
- 27 Russia Helping Iraq Upgrade Air Defenses
- 5 The Consequences of Russias Looming Food Shortage
- 4 Putin’s Friendly Face Will Not Last
- 3 Reforms in Post-Soviet Russia Failed. Nov 1999
- 2 THE CRISIS IN RUSSIA (Published in USA Sep 1998)
- 1 To bee a good Citizen of Sweden you must remember this?
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The 2nd Wave Is Coming
15 April 2009
By Natalya Orlova
While it appears that the worst of the financial crisis has already hit the international financial markets, the full effect of the crisis on Russia lags behind developed markets and will likely only be felt here in the second half of 2009, manifesting itself in the form of bad corporate debt.
After experiencing some turbulence on the interbank market, the Russian financial system first felt a considerable impact from the international financial crisis in the second half of 2008. The first wave of the banking crisis was accompanied by a liquidity squeeze, instability in the exchange rate and significant withdrawal of bank deposits. But since there was a similar run on the largest banks in summer 2004, these developments were neither new nor particularly ominous. Having learned from previous experience, the Central Bank took action by cutting banks reserve requirements and enlarging refinancing options to provide banks with the needed liquidity.
What is more threatening for Russias banking sector is the question of nonperforming debt that looms on the horizon. This debt is particularly dangerous for Russian banks because they do not have experience working with bad loans. In the 1990s, all banking sector activity was focused on the currency market and later moved on to the state bond market. Prior to 1998, loans made up only 40 percent of bank assets -- compared with the current level of 60 percent -- and were concentrated on interconnected borrowers. Thus, in 1998, bad loans in a number of cases reflected bank owners decisions to sacrifice their banking business in order to save the productive assets of the group.
Lending began to grow in Russia in 2003 and 2004, fueled by the penetration of foreign banks into the local market as well as the wider availability of foreign capital flowing in from global markets. In the period from 2002 to 2008, corporate loans as a portion of gross domestic product grew from 15 percent to 30 percent, and the retail lending market sprouted from a ridiculous level of 1 percent of GDP in 2002 to 9 percent of GDP in 2008. In recent years of high economic growth, bad loans -- particularly bad corporate debt -- were not an issue for the banking sector. In the first half of 2008, the level of nonperforming loans under Russian accounting standards was about only 1 percent of banks lending portfolios.
But today, Russian banks are vulnerable to one overarching risk -- the palpable decline of economic activity that is affecting all the sectors of the countrys economy. The current economic downturn means that all banks will face mounting nonperforming loans to one degree or another. Exporters are suffering from the decline in commodity prices and the unavailability of foreign capital, and under these circumstances they will certainly face liquidity problems. Furthermore, the decline in the countrys construction sector suggests that the credit quality of companies operating in the manufacturing, transportation and trading sectors will deteriorate. The dramatic drop in equity and real estate prices have caused a reduction in the value of collateral used by borrowers. Retail clients will also have trouble servicing their long-term debt.
The bigger issue for Russia is short-term corporate debt of $220 billion (out of a total corporate debt of $780 billion) that comes due before the end of this year. Half of this amount is denominated in foreign currency loans, which means an additional financial burden considering the significant depreciation of the ruble since September.
The $220 billion debt makes up roughly 20 percent of Russias current GDP. Given todays environment of declining global and local demand, it is indeed difficult to imagine that the real sector of the economy will be able to generate the necessary revenue flows to service its outstanding debt. The peak for nonperforming loans can be expected in the third quarter, at which point Russia will experience its "second wave" of the crisis.
Given the fact that $220 billion has to be paid this year, it appears that a 15 percent level of bad loans is inevitable. A domino effect of bad debt could lead to a level of nonperforming loans as high as 30 percent. Clearly, banks are working to reduce their exposure to troubled borrowers to limit the prevalence of bad loans. This, in turn, is exacerbating the problem for struggling companies that face severe liquidity problems now. Insolvency for many of these companies is a real possibility.
There is, however, a silver lining. First, the Russian economy as a whole is still not highly leveraged by global standards. The total debt that Russian companies owe to domestic and foreign banks represents approximately 52 percent of GDP. In the East Asian economies that were overwhelmed by the financial crisis of 1997, corporate debt accounted for up to 150 percent of GDP. After bad loans reach their peak in the second half of the year, the Russian economy could resume its growth by expanding its leverage. Thus, the economic downside potential for Russia appears to be considerably limited. The question lies in its ability to generate a higher upside.
Second, this crisis offers an excellent opportunity for a much-needed consolidation in the banking sector. At present, 200 banks control about 90 percent of the countrys entire banking sector. This suggests that there is a significant opportunity for smaller banks to improve efficiency of their business through consolidation as well as find synergies to address the current crisis. Consolidation would also substantially improve the Central Banks monitoring function.
Natalya Orlova is chief economist at Alfa Bank.
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