During the first seven months of 2002 inflation rate in Russia (measured by the CPI) was 9.8 percent (13.percent in the respective period of 2001). Based on preliminary estimates, inflation will remain at a minimum level in August; the expected consumer price growth will be 0.1 to 0.2 percent.
Fig. 1. Consumer price index in 1,1% 1,0% 0,9% 0,8% 0,7% 0,6% 0,5% 0,4% 0,3% 0,2% 0,1% 0,0% Fig. 2. Dynamics of money base and foreign reserves in 850 45,840 44,44,43,43,42,42,41,41,40,40,39,39,38,38,37,37,670 36,660 36,Money base (as Rb.bln.) Foreign reserves (as USD bln.) % в неделю 1-7.4.8-14.4.3-9.6.1-7.7.4-10.2.4-10.3.15-21.4.6-12.5.8-14.7.7-13.01.11-17.2.18-24.2.11-17.3.18-24.3.25-31.3.22-28.4.13-19.5.20-26.5.10-16.6.17-23.6.24-30.6.15-21.7.22-22.214.171.124-126.96.36.199-188.8.131.52-184.108.40.206-220.127.116.11-12.8.14-20.01.21-27.01.13.8-19.8.28.01-3.02.31.12.01-6.1.млрд. рублей млрд. долларов 8-14.4.3-9.6.1-7.7.6-12.5.11-17.2.11-17.3.25-31.3.22-28.4.20-26.5.17-23.6.15-18.104.22.168-22.214.171.124-5.8.14-20.01.13.8-19.8.28.01-3.02.31.12.01-6.1.In August 2002 the gold and foreign currency reserves increased, reaching US$ 44.4 billion on 23 August 2002. A reduction amounting to US$ 300 million was observed in the period 16 through 23 August 2002, for the first time after a long period. We would like to remind that the July low was related to the change in accounting approach by the Bank of Russia.
Consideration of the Main Directions of the Uniform State Monetary Policy for 2003 commenced in August. The draft document was considered in a meeting of the Government and introduced to the State Duma.
According to the document, the Central Bank will concentrate its efforts on reducing inflation to 9-percent in 2003. According to estimates of the Central Bank, basic inflation, i.e. the value net of seasonal fluctuations and administered prices, should be at a level of 7.5 to 8.5 percent. Plans envisage that in the next three years inflation will diminish to less than 8 percent. The Bank of Russia continues to follow the floating rate policy. The money supply index is not regarded as a benchmark.
Among various measures applied within the framework of the monetary policy, a reduction in the refinancing rate from 23 to 21 percent since 07 August 2002 deserves attention. The interest policy has so far has negligible influence, though. Following a number of legal trials, the latest of which was won by the Central Bank, the Board of Directors of the Bank of Russia decided on 23 August 2002 that the mandatory sales of the export hard currency receipts would either proceed via authorized banks at interbank currency exchanges or the receipts could be sold directly to the Central Bank of RF, in the OTC interbank market or to the authorized bank maintaining the company's accounts. The monopoly of currency exchanges is thus canceled.
D. Levchenko Financial Markets The Market for Government Securities In August 2002 the yield growth trend in the market for Russian foreign debt that was observed during July ceased, giving place to a downward trend for most of security types (see Figures 1 and 2). The main factors contributing to the dynamics of the Russian securities were the rise in Russia's sovereign debt by Standard & Poors from B+ to BB- on 26 July 2002 and a certain pacification of international markets that occurred, among other things, due to a positive outcome of negotiations between Brazil and the IMF on allocation of a US$ 30 billion aid package.
Fig. 1. O V V Z yields rate between May through August 11,5% 11,0% 10,5% 10,0% 9,5% 9,0% 8,5% 8,0% 7,5% 7,0% 6,5% 6,0% 5,5% 5,0% Транш 4 Транш 5 Транш 6 Транш 07.05.14.05.17.05.22.05.27.05.30.05.06.06.11.06.17.06.20.06.25.06.28.06.03.07.08.07.10.07.15.07.18.07.23.07.26.07.31.07.05.08.08.08.13.08.16.08.21.08.26.08.Fig. 2. Yields rate of Russian Eurobonds with mautrity dates due in 2003, 2007 and between May through August 11,0% 10,5% 10,0% 9,5% 9,0% 8,5% 8,0% 7,5% 7,0% 6,5% 6,0% 5,5% 5,0% 4,5% 4,0% USD-2003 USD-2007 USD-The yield of securities in the market for domestic debt was 13 - 14 percent p.a. Despite their low yield, Rouble-denominated securities are actually quite attractive assets in the summer period. The RF Pension Fund is a constant large participant of the market; according to M. Zurabov, the Fund's monthly investment plans reach ca. US$ 120 million.
The market for corporate securities Following sharp fluctuations in July, the Russian market spent a rather quiet August. The upward trend in the oil and gas market had a positive influence on the quotations of Russian assets, especially the securities of oil companies. However, the trade volume declined almost 1.5 times. It should be noted that the continuing uncertainty in the world's leading exchanges and the crisis in some of Latin-American countries led to a decrease in investor confidence in developing markets. On the whole, lower market activity in summer is a normal phenomenon; we expect that important events may take place in the fall.
Fig. 3. Volume of trade..... RTS index Объем торгов ($) Индекс РТС 07.05.14.05.17.05.22.05.27.05.30.05.06.06.11.06.17.06.20.06.25.06.28.06.03.07.08.07.12.07.17.07.22.07.25.07.30.07.02.08.07.08.12.08.15.08.20.08.23.08.пунктов млн. долларов США 01.08.29.08.26.09.24.10.126.96.36.199.23.01.20.02.22.03.19.04.22.05.20.06.18.07.15.08.The Stock Market From 01 to 27 August the RTS index grew by 26.86 points (8.23 percent) and reached the level of late June. On 27 August the index reached 353.09 points. Yet, the index growth was accompanied by a decrease in the trade volume that was less than US$ 196 million in the stated period (a drop by 40 percent from same period of July). The average annual turnover decreased to US$ 10.3 million. On 12 August the trade volume reached the year low of US$ 3.49 million. The RTS index dynamics may be subdivided into two main periods: from 01 to 06 August the stock market index fell by 12.24 points (-3.8 percent) to reach 313.points; thereafter till the end of the month a growth may be observed up to values around the 350 point mark.
The maximum index value observed in August was 354.19 points.
Fig. 4. Dynamics of quotations of Russian blue chips between 31 July through 27 August Динамика котировок российских голубых фишек с 31 июля 2002 г. по 27 августа 2002 г.
20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% Изменение цены (%) RAO UES Norilsk Nickel Gasprom (at St. Petersburg exchange) LukOil Mosenergo RAO Rostelecom Sberbank Sibneft Surgutneftegaz Tatneft YUKOS (price change in %) In August growth leaders among blue chips were the stocks of oil companies LUKoil (15.06 percent), Sibneft (13.19 percent), Tatneft (6.73 percent) and Surgutneftegas (6.7 percent). This fully conforms to the situation in the "black gold" market. Additional factors contributing to higher attractiveness of LUKoil securities were the successful completion of the listing in London (see below) and a refusal to sell a block of this issuer's shares that currently belongs to the state. Prices for the securities of the following issuers changed to a smaller extent: RAO UES of Russia (4.02 percent), Yukos (2.98 percent) and the Savings Bank (1.67 percent). The lower yield of Yukos's securities as opposed to other oil securities can be explained by the fact that its shares were overestimated. The price reduction also affected Mosenergo (-3.01 percent) and the MMC Norilsk Nickel. The prices of metallurgical companies' shares are the result of expectations of lower prices in international metal markets.
In August ordinary LUKoil shares took the top position (28.38 percent from 22.58 percent last year) in the trade volume in the total turnover at RTS. The proportion of RAO UES's ordinary shares declined to 20.percent (28.12 percent); Surgutneftegas grew to 15.09 percent; Yukos: 11.93 percent (11.76 percent);
Mosenergo: - 5.45 percent (1.51 percent). The total proportion of five most liquid shares in the overall RTS turnover remained practically the same, amounting to 81.36 percent (July: 81.32 percent). In the period from 01 to 27 August 2002 the volume of trade in Gazprom shares performed via RTS terminals was US$ 52.million (over 63 million shares); the total amount of deals concluded with the gas monopoly's shares was 8.thousand.
As at 27 August the Russian top five companies by capitalization are as follows (RTS data): Yukos: US$ 21.17 billion; Gazprom: US$ 19.94 billion; LUKoil: US$ 14.15 billion; Surgutneftegas: US$ 13.05 billion;
Sibneft: US$ 9.68 billion.
The market for term contracts The interest of market participants in the FORTS market remains unabated. In the period from 01 till August the total turnover of the term market achieved RUR 6.21 billion (over 43.6 thousand deals, 1.million contracts). Futures contracts accounted for RUR 6.12 billion (42.8 thousand deals, 1.78 million contracts) in this amount. The peak activity of market participants was observed on 07 August when the trade volume amounted to RUR 453.78 thousand. The average daily trade volume was RUR 326.9 million while average amount of deals was 2296.
The corporate bond market An increase in the yields of most issues of corporate securities was observed in August; however, the market was not especially active. Investors are waiting for the autumn wave of IPOs by such issuers as RAO UES, RusAl and other large Russian companies. The list of factors affecting the quotations includes expectations of yield growth because of IPOs that are awaited in September and a relatively low level of interbank lending rates. The IPOs will be made with a premium against the secondary market. Therefore, its participants will try to increase the yields in the secondary market. In the period from 01 till 27 August the turnover in the secondary market of corporate bonds was RUR 1.56 billion. The leaders during this period were the as follows: Slavneft (2nd issue): 16.05 percent; TNK (5th issue): 11.53 percent;
Nizhnekamsneftekhim (2nd issue): 8.55 percent; Gazprom with 7.03 percent and Aeroflot (2nd issue) with 5.88 percent. The total trade volume for the five most liquid bonds was 49.05 percent. Among IPOs we would like to note the placement of the 16th issue of MMK bonds (RUR 300 million), 1st issue of Russian Standard - Finance (RUR 500 million) and Uralsvyazinform (RUR 1 billion).
Factors affecting the pricing Fig. 5. Brent price in the US, at NYMEX Цена на сырую нефть Brent, США (NYMEX) On the whole, an upward trend was observed in the August oil market which affected the quotations of Russian oil companies positively. In the end of the month the price for one barrel of oil amounted to the level of September 2001. On 20 August the September futures for Light Sweet closed at NYMEX at a record-high marke, achieving the level of US$ 30.11 / bbl. Previously an oil price exceeding US$ 30 / bbl was observed at the exchange on 13 February 2001. Futures contracts for gasoline and reduced fuel oil also grew significantly at NYMEX on that day; e.g., the price for reduced fuel oil hit a 15-month record mark. On долларов за баррель.
August the price for Brent was US$ 27.98 / bbl. Since the beginning of the rally prices in London grew by 8.5 percent; in New-York oil prices grew by more than 11 percent. As NYMEX moved to October futures contracts, the price level in the oil market somewhat diminished. However, it is quite possible that the growth in oil quotations may recommence in case there is new information. For instance, the markets fear that the OPEC countries will keep the oil quotas in Quarter 4 of 2002. President of Venezuela Hugo Chaves said that an increase in oil prices in the world market up to the US$ 30 / bbl mark would not inevitably result in an international economic crisis. In the OPEC summit, which is due to take place on 19 September, Venezuela is not going to support the suggestion to increase export quotas. At the same time, market participants believe it is possible that the USA will soon start a military operation in the Persian Gulf.
220% Dow Jones Industrial Average Nasdaq Composite 200% Индекс РТС 180% 160% 140% 120% 100% 80% 60% 40% 01.08.2001 29.08.2001 26.09.2001 24.10.2001 22.11.2001 21.12.2001 23.01.2002 21.02.2002 21.03.2002 18.04.2002 15.05.2002 11.06.2002 09.07.2002 06.08.Leading US indexes grew in August: on 23 August Dow Jones increased 136.36 points (1.56 percent) and NASDAQ grew 52.36 points (3.94 percent). Largest US corporations completed their certification in accordance with new SEC regulations. The aim of the new regulations is to radically reduce the possibility of a new scandal relating to financial statements.
The EU Commission has passed amendments to the anti-dumping legislation; this action has moved the recognition of the Russian economy's market status closer. The EU Council is expected to approve the entire package of amendments to the EU legislation as soon as the coming fall. The EU may thus become the first trade partner to grant Russia the status of a country with market economy.
On 26 July Standard & Poors announced that it upgraded the long-term sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation in the foreign and local currency from B+ to BB- and confirmed the short-term sovereign credit rating in the foreign and local currency at the B level. The forecast on sovereign ratings was changed from "positive" to "stable". The increase in the rating reflects improvements in the management system in the Russian Federation and a more firm debt policy. Furthermore, the agency's analysts noted that the change in the management of the RF Central Bank expanded the prospects of important banking reforms and financial liberalization and the recent changes in OAO Gazprom that has significant political influence also pointed to progressing rationalization of the Russian energy sector.
On 13 August the Federal Open Market Committee decided in its meeting to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 1.75 percent. At the same time, however, the FRS announced a change in the estimate of the basic risk for the US economy from "neutral" to a "risk of slowing in the rate of economic growth". This change in risk estimate may signify future rate reduction which corresponds to the expectations of market participants.
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