Russia’s Putin: No Magic Wand But Tricks Up Our Sleeve
Russia doesn't have a magic wand to create growth but a multi-billion dollar investment program could help revive economic growth, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
"Our priorities ahead of Russia's presidency of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit next year is to develop social, economic and entrepreneurial systems to create dynamic growth and time demands that we act decisively now," he told an audience of delegates attending the plenary session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Putin said Russia would seek to boost growth by investing 450 billion rubles ($13.7 billion) in Russian infrastructure, business and transport links, such as the trans-Siberian railway.
"These are not just lofty words, but projects that will be carefully thought through and implemented."
Putin said that high profile energy deals in Russia's far east, such as one between Rosneft and China, would "allow Russia to access the Asian Pacific markets."
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Rosneft will supply China with 300,000 barrels per day over 25 years starting in the second half of the decade, on top of the 300,000 per day it already supplies. The deal is valued at $270 billion.
Putin said a key priority was to improve Russia's business climate and the Moscow stock exchange to allow Russia to compete on a global business level.
Despite high profile wranglings between the government and Kremlin over the government's so-called "budget rule," which caps the budget deficit at 1 percent of GDP, Putin said there would be no change to budgetary policy.
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"I want to reiterate now that the course of our budget policy rule, whatever reshuffle, will not be changed," he said, alluding to a possible cabinet reshuffle.
Putin introduced the new head of the country's central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, and said that the country would continue to fight inflation, which at 7 percent is well above the central bank's target of 5 to 6 percent.
"It's still acceptable but we have a long way to go," he said.