Whilst the marginal values of the qualitative criteria have not been revised as yet, the break-even principle of investing the Fund’s resources stipulated in the Procedures de-facto predetermines selection of solely profit-making projects. In conjunction with this, there arises concern that if the government keeps on being guided by the commercial component of proposed projects, the social infrastructure objects will remain abandoned and out of the Investment Fund focus of attention.
As of the beginning of 2008, the governmental commission had already selected and endorsed 16 investment projects, which are all related to infrastructural development, mostly in the area of transport.
The first 12 ones had been picked during the RF MEDT’s term as the Investment Fund’s manager. They provided for some Rb. 290bn in public investment in projects worth a total of some Rb. 1trln.
The remaining 4 projects were endorsed in November 2007, when the RF Ministry of Regional Development took over the mandate of the Fund’s manager. The total cost of these projects accounts for Rb.1.233trln, with 422bn. allocated from Investment Fund.
The Ministry does not limit itself with these figures – according to Mr. D. Kozak, there are another next six projects roughly of the same scale. The analysis of the most recently selected projects (“The complex development of the Southern Yakutia”, “Ural Industrial -Ural Polar”) suggests that the Fund’s resources are planned to be spent largely on creation of infrastructure in the framework of complex development of individual regions.
In our view, to maintain the nationwide significance of Investment Fund, the government should limit itself, in the medium term, with maintenance of implementation of some 20-25 large-scale infrastructural projects, while all investment and innovation projects should be funded through other development institutions, such as Vneshekonombank, Special Economic Zones, the Russian Venture Company, the public corporation “Rostekhnologii”, the Housing and Utilities Reform Fund, among others.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the idea of formation of regional investment funds requires a more detailed elaboration, as efficiency of these particular instruments has not been empirically proved as yet, while the necessity of incurring additional budgetary costs associated with administering their operations appears evident. We believe that it is worthwhile to consider an idea to delegate the mandate on managing a fraction of the federal Investment Fund’s resources to the Development Bank, providing it has the fundamentals and mechanisms laid down in the Procedures, as the Bank is in possession of the adequate banking technologies on selection and maintenance of implementation of investment projects. This would ensure cost cutout so far as budgetary funds are concerned and a proper efficiency of their consumption.
Forecast Models of the RF Economic Development over a Medium-Term Prospective with Regard to the Trade Balance Dynamics S.Drobyshevsky The net capital flow in and out of the RF has turned into an important source of financial resources for the investments in real sector and, consequently, for the support of high economic growth rates. In this Section we will review four models of the RF economic development in the medium-term prospective (for years till 2012), based on different dynamics in both components of the RF balance of payments (balance of current account and balance of capital account). The results of the review indicate, that a significant reduction of external financing within 2-3 years may lead to critical effect, comparable with the situation of the sharp and sustained downfall in oil prices.
One of the key indicators of 2007 is the acceleration of the Russian economy growth rates, as well as the expansion of real investments in fixed assets. This was observed in the background of both, extremely high oil prices, that inspired the surplus of the current account growth, as well as high surplus balance of capital account over the greater part of the year. The net capital flow in and out of the RF has turned into an important source of financial resources for the investments in real sector and, consequently, for the support of high economic growth rates. In this Section we will review four models of the RF economic development in the medium-term prospective (for 5 years till 2012), based on different dynamics in both components of the RF balance of payments (balance of current account and balance of capital account).
The first three models are based on the situation with the sustained high oil prices in the world market: the average annual price for 2008 is estimated at the level of USD 75 per barrel (for Brent), and although prices are expected to be decreasing in subsequent years, they should stay at the level of about USD 60 per barrel, which corresponds to the indicator of no lower than USD 45 per barrel in 2005-2006 prices, in case of USD strengthening in the global market up to USD 1.27-1.30 for EURO 1.
The first model of the RF economic development is, in fact, the inertia-based scenario. The government will admit the federal expenditures growth in excess of 18.5 per cent of GDP after the presidential elections in 2008. The current tax system will remain unchaged, the standards of replenishment of the RF Reserve Fund and the National Welfare Fund will not be amended, the annual growth rates of prices and tariffs for the goods and services, produced and provided by natural monopolies will exceed the inflation rate by no more than 2-2.5 p.p. The RF Central Bank will keep up the policy of accumulating foreign currency reserves, which will make for the relevant expansion of monetary supply, including the volume, required to maintain the high GDP growth rate, as well as the policy of restraining the rates of the effective ruble exchange rate strengthening in real terms. Therefore, favorable external economic market situation and positive domestic macroeconomic indicators will attract both, foreign direct investments and capital inflow to the country.
Model II differs from the first one, it is based on the assumption of sustained instability in the global financial system due to the crisis indicators, observed in the second half of 2007 as a result of problems in the USA mortgage market. Therefore, the ability of the Russian companies to attract inexpensive external resources will be restrained, which in turn will lead to a reduction in investment activities in Russia due to limited external resources of funding and growing interest rates in the domestic market. In particular, we anticipate in this situation, that the annual volume of capital inflow will be twice lower than under the first scenario.
Model III is based on the assumption of capital outflow from the country for the reasons, not associated with the trends in the Russian economy and Russian investment environment. This model is crisis-based or, at best, neutral. The situation at the "turning point" will depend on “safety reserve” of economy and financial authorities policy in the face of deteriorating financial crisis. Nevertheless, there is a rather high probability for the developments under such a scenario in the nearest future: due to the USA credit market crisis, the global investors lose interest to the new emerging highly risky markets, including Russia.
It should be noted, that to review the consequences of this scenario, it is not crucial for us to find the basic reason (the “trigger"), that provoked capital outflow (significant deficit of the balance of capital account).
The following factors can be related to those reasons:
- problems in the USA credit and other financial markets;
- downgraiding of growth rates in the global economy;
- upgrading of interest rates in developed countries;
- financial crisis in one or a number of emerging markets.
However, in this scenario, we do not anticipate an abrupt downfall of oil prices. In other words, the situa tion of the balance of current account will remain favorable, while the outflow from the balance of capital account transactions is expected in the amount up to USD 200 billion (in 2009). In general, under this scenario, we have estimated the total balance of capital flows to/from the Russian Federation, basing on the assumption of reduction and stabilization of the private sector external debt in 2011-2012 at the level of February-March 2007 (prior to massive capital inflows in the second quarter of 2007), i.e., USD 340-350 billion.
Model IV is based on anticipated decline in oil prices in the world market to the average level, sustained for many years, i.e., USD 20-25 per barrel (for Brent) in prices of 2005-2006, what approximately accounts to USD 30-35 per barrel in 2012.
To avoid arbitrary interpretations of qualitative changes in the economy and in the behaviour of economic agents (for example, a sharp change in prices and foreign currency exchange rates dynamics in case of oil price downfall, the “swing” of exchange rate in nominal terms, etc.). Due to the application of formal economic-mathematical algorithms for quantitative assessment of the forecast models, we expect responsible and conservative behaviour on the part of economic agents. Thus, in every model, we apply the "equilibrium" variables in certain conditions, though it is unlikely to create such conditions in practice. In particular, this is relevant in regard to the forecast models, based on oil prices downfall.
Therefore, our assumptions provide fairly prudent assessments of the dynamics in macro-economic indicators in the Russian economy in case of both, high and low oil prices. In reality, the situation, with regard to the expectations of economic agents, might be developed in a more negative way. In such a case the authorities should be prepared to take measures aimed at least at mitigation of the estimated negative consequences.
Similarly, for the situation of high oil prices, the forecast models are also conservative and demonstrate the bottom level of economic development options.
Modeling of the Russian economy major indicators dynamics in general, and in monetary sphere in particular, was perfomed on the basis of the IET approximation of medium-term socio-economic indicators modeling23. For the purpose of this study, the model was based on a longer time series, and moreover, revised by a number of additional indicators.
The preliminary estimates of final values for 2007 were used as initial indicators. The dynamics in the basic macroeconomic indicators as per the models are presented in Table. 1. Hereafter, we will review the basic trends in the Russian economy for each model in detail.
According to the obtained results, in the inertia-based situation in the economy of Russia (model I), the total GDP growth in real terms within 5 years (over 2008 - 2012) will reach about 35 per cent, while the annual growth rate of GDP in real terms will decline by the end of the period to 5.5-5.7 per cent. The decline in growth rate is attributed to the lower level of cost efficiency and stabilization in the export volumes of oil and gas, whereas the existing industry structure (raw materials in particular) is sustained. Ruble exchange rate growth in real terms will enable Russian economy to reach the volume of GDP, equal to USD 2.2 trillion (according to the current exchange rate) by 2012.
Despite some decrease of federal budget revenues (approximately to 20.5-21 per cent of GDP as a result of lowered level of taxation in the oil sector and the overall cost efficiency downgrading in economy, the federal budget balance remains positive (minimum indicator is 1 per cent of GDP). An expressed effect of the above is the accumulation of assets in the National Welfare Fund in the volume of 7.5-8 per cent of GDP (USD 170-180 billion) by the end of 2012.
The RF Central Bank policy in accumulation of foreign currency reserves and restriction of annual rates of ruble strengthening in real terms through the inflow of foreign currency sterilization enabled to reach the level of USD 690-700 billion of reserves in foreign currency. Total growth of effective ruble exchange rate in real terms for a 5-year period makes approximately 16 per cent (+ 31 per cent to the level prior to the 1998 crisis). Herewith, ruble exchange rate in nominal terms will reach approximately 29.0-29.5 rubles against dollar by the end of 2012.
As mentioned above, the key distinguishment of this models from the other ones is continued expressed capital inflow to the RF. According to the forecast model, the support of the desired level of investments in fixed assets requires an extension of the Russian private sector external debt to USD 1.05 trillion (about Model description in detail is published in the works by M. Turuntseva, A. Yudin, S. Drobyshevsky, P. Kadochnikov, S. Ponomarenko, P. Trunin “Some approaches to economic indicators modeling”, “Research Works”, No.89Р, М.: IET, 2005, and some model elements are provided also in the works by S. Drobyshevsky, V. Nosko, R.
Entov, A. Yudin “Economic Analysis of Basic Macroeconomic Indicators Dynamic Series” “Research Works” No.
34Р, М.: IET, 2001; R. Entov, V. Nosko, A. Yudin, A.Kadochnikov, S. Ponomarenko “Some Macroeconomic Indicators Approximation”, “Research Works" № 46Р, М.: IET, 2002.; G. Karasev, S. Chetverikov “Structural Models of RUR Exchange Rates”, No. 88Р, М.: IET, 2005.
per cent of GDP) by the end of 2012.
In our estimates, trade balance surplus, supported by the high prices for raw materials in the global market can be sustained practically over all period under review (insignificantly negative indicators are expected only in 2012). However, due to the growth in services import and the upgraded interest rates on the growing external debt, the balance of current account may become negative as early as in 2010 - 2011 and will overlap the surplus balance of capital account, i.e., the RF balance of payments will be negative. Our estimates are based on the assumptions, that the balance of payments deficit will be funded from the RF gold and foreign currency reserves, while maintaining smooth dynamics in ruble exchange rate in nominal terms against two-currency basket "USD-EURO".
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