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Between 1st to 30th of May, the price of shortest oil futures (Brent) at the NYMEX rose from 23.53 $/barrel to 29.78 $/barrel, i.e. by about 26.6%. As it is shown in Fig. 6, the oil prices were steadily falling or steadily rising during the last three months. In both cases the prevailing pattern raised a serious concern on the part of investors and the OPEC members. It is evident that the introduction of the mechanism of decline or growth in volume of oil output, should the oil price falls below 22$/barrel or rise above 28 $/barrel, will be in the focus of attention at the forthcoming OPEC summit in Vienna, on June 21, 2000. Thus, should OPEC approve such a decision, risks of investments in the Russian oil industry will be rather lower.

Figure 6.

Thirdly, on May 8, 2000 the international rating agency ‘Fitch IBCA’ has increased the credit rating of Russia from CCC to B (the limited credibility matching the current volume of issued debt). Against a background of a new instability twist at the financial markets of developed countries, the increase in the Russian credit rating did not attract an investors’ interest. Nevertheless, the Russian stock market perceived rather the improvement in the economy, politic situation and investment climate, which allow the international rating agency to made its decision as the most important signal than the fact of the change in the rating.

As early as at the beginning of summer, in addition to the increase in the Fitch IBCA credit rating, there would be a number of positive factors that would influence to the Russian stock market, namely: the appointment of well-known Mr. Kasyanov to the post of Prime-minister, the completion of the Cabinet formation, a real beginning of mobilizing consensus between the executive power and the legislature on political and economical problems, the growth in oil prices at the international markets and in the foreign reserves of the Russian Central Bank and, finally, the forthcoming G-8 Summit in Okinawa. Perhaps at the Summit Russia and seven developed countries would discuss the problem of the restructuring of the Russian debt to the Paris Club. Thus, after completion of the current instability at the international financial markets, the Russian stock market would became more attractive to foreign investors.

Interbank loan market. The situation at the market for ruble interbank loans in April ‑ May 2000 was rather stable (see Fig. 7). A temporary increase in rates on credits was observed in late-April ‑ early-May only, when the end-of-month factor coincided with long holidays. The rates on 'overnight' credits over the period concerned rose up to 25–33% annualized. In mid-May the cost of borrowing at the interbank market once again fell to 5–7% annualized.

One should note that in April ‑ May 2000 there was practically no interrelation between rates at the interbank loan market and volumes of balances on corresponding accounts of commercial banks at the CBR. The balances fluctuated within the range up to 8 billion rubles per day, and were determined mainly by the Bank of Russia’s actions at the foreign exchange market.

Figure 7.

Foreign exchange market. In May 2000 the situation at the Russian foreign exchange market was rather stable. The factors which positively influenced to the market were as follows: the growth in the international oil prices, the growth in the RCB’s foreign reserves (for details, see the section on the Monetary Policy) and the decline in political risks. Thus, meanwhile there are all necessary conditions for stabilization of the ruble exchange rate in place. However, on May 17, 2000, Mr. Kasyanov stated that the continuous strengthening of ruble is inadequate to the interests of the Russian economy. The statement entailed some growth in the demand for dollars and led to a number of attacks against the ruble exchange rate in the second half of May. The RCB’s interventions at the exchange market have smoothed the fluctuations. Nevertheless, the question as to what the further exchange rate policy of the Russian Central Bank and its correlation to the economic policy of the new Russian Government will be remains unanswered for many investors.

In April 2000, the official dollar exchange rate dropped from 28.46 rubles/$ to 28.43 rubles/$ (see Fig.8). That corresponds to –0.11% a month. The ‘today’ dollar exchange rate in the SELT dropped from 28.6019 rubles/$ to 28.3950 rubles/$, i.e. by 0.72%. The ‘tomorrow’ dollar exchange rate dropped from 28.6754 rubles/$ to 28.4333 rubles/$, i.e. by 0.84%.

In May 2000, the official dollar exchange rate dropped from 28.43 rubles/$ to 28.25 rubles/$, i.e. by 0.63%. According to preliminary estimations, in May the ‘today’ dollar exchange rate in the SELT dropped from 28.3950 rubles/$ to 28.245 rubles/$ (as of May 30), i.e. by 0.53% a month. The ‘tomorrow’ dollar exchange rate fell from 28.4333 rubles/$ to 28.257 rubles/$ (as of May 30), i.e. by 0.62%.

In May 2000, because of long holidays the trading volumes in the SELT dropped. According to the preliminary estimations, in May the overall trading volume of the most liquid ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ contracts made up 86.2 bln. rubles and 87.0 bln. rubles, respectively. If so, the total volume of turnover by these contracts in the last month should be at about 16.6% inferior to the respective index registered in April 2000.

Figure 8.

Figure 9.

In May 2000 the ‘euro/dollar’ exchange rate at the international financial markets has grown. In particular, between May 3 to May 30 the euro exchange rate grew from 0.8943 euro/$ to 0.9351 euro/$, i.e. by 4.56%. This process manifested itself in the change of the growth pace in the ‘euro/ruble’ rate.

In April 2000, the official euro exchange rate dropped from 27.13 rubles/euro to 26.2 rubles/euro, i.e. by 3.43%. The ‘today’ euro exchange rate in the SELT fell from 27.4222 rubles/euro to 25.9235 rubles/euro, i.e. by 5.47% a month. The ‘tomorrow’ euro exchange rate dropped from 27.275 rubles/euro to 26.2 rubles/euro, i.e. by 3.94% a month (see Fig.9).

In May 2000, the official euro exchange rate dropped insignificantly: from 26.2 rubles/euro to 26.19 rubles/euro, i.e. by 0.04%. According to preliminary estimations, in May the ‘today’ euro exchange rate in the SELT grew from 25.9235 rubles/euro to 26.3533 rubles/euro (as of May 30), i.e. by 1.66% (21.81% annualized). The ‘tomorrow’ euro exchange rate in the SELT grew from 26.2 rubles/euro to 26.42 rubles/euro (as of May 30), i.e. by 0.84% (10.55% annualized).

The growth in the ‘euro/ruble’ exchange rate resulted in the growth in the trading volume by euro in the SELT. According to preliminary estimations, in May the total trading volume by ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ contracts on euro in the SELT made up 2.547 bln. rubles. That is at about 23.6% superior to the respective index registered in April.

Table 2

Indicators of Financial Markets.

Month

January

February

March

April

May*

inflation rate (monthly)

2.3%

1.0%

0.6%

0.9%

1.2%

annualised inflation rate by the month’s tendency

31.4%

12.7%

7.44%

11.35%

15.39%

the RCB refinancing rate

45%

45%

33%

33%

33%

annualized yield to maturity on OFZ issues

45.50%

33.13%

30.53%

27.71%

28%

volume of trading in the secondary GKO-OFZ market a month (billion rubles)

8.52

19.46

17.91

14.69

10

yield to maturity on Vneshbonds issues by the end of the month (% a year):

4th tranche

42.52%

35.40%

28.22%

31.44%

38%

5th tranche

25.51%

23.50%

18.25%

20.67%

22%

6th tranche

20.16%

20.12%

16.65%

17.38%

18%

7th tranche

16.85%

16.49%

14.34%

14.57%

15%

8th tranche

16.28%

16.89%

19%

INSTAR – MIACR rate (annual %) on interbank loans by the end of the month:

overnight

38.14%

14.40%

26.26%

25.54%

10%

1 week

18.0%

20.0%

9.0%

10%

official exchange rate of ruble per US dollar by the end of the month

28.55

28.66

28.46

28.43

28.25

official exchange rate of ruble per Euro by the end of the month

28.23

27.44

27.13

26.2

26.19

average annualized exchange rate of ruble per US dollar growth

5.74%

0.39%

-0.70%

-0.11%

-0.63%

average annualized exchange rate of ruble per euro growth

3.67%

-2.80%

-1.13%

-3.43%

-0.04%

volume of trading at the stock market in the RTS for the month (millions of USD)

489.5

441.5

810.8

499.4

414

the value of the RTS Index by the end of the month

172.31

170.93

231.88

226.87

190

growth in the RTS Index (% a month)

-3.04%

-0.80%

35.66%

-2.16%

-16.25%

*/ estimated

S. Arkhipov, S. Drobyshevsky

Investment in capital assets

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