(CNN) — Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said his country “may find itself without money next year,” adding that it “needs foreign investment.”
According to statements carried by Russia’s state-owned news agency TASS, Deripaska said at an economic conference in Siberia on Thursday: “There will be no money already next year, we need foreign investors.”
The billionaire’s remarks, who called for an end to Russia’s war on Ukraine in the early days of the conflict last year, contrast with a more optimistic assessment of Russia’s economic fortunes by Putin last week. The Russian president praised the “resilience” of his country’s economy in the face of unprecedented Western sanctions imposed this year. the past.
Russia’s economic output shrank by 2.1% last year, according to a preliminary estimate from the government, and the contraction was more limited than many economists initially expected, but the negative effects are beginning to appear, as Russia cuts oil production this month, and Western sanctions could escalate further, in the end. Russia’s economic prospects depend on what happens in Ukraine.
Deripaska said that foreign investors, especially from “friendly” countries, have a big role to play, and their coming depends on whether Russia can create the right conditions and make its markets attractive.
Western countries have imposed more than 11,300 sanctions on Russia since the beginning of the invasion in February 2022, and have frozen about $300 billion of Russia’s foreign reserves, in an attempt to strip Moscow of funds.
But China has tried to help the Kremlin by buying up Russian energy, substituting Western suppliers for machinery and base metals among other products, and providing an alternative to the US dollar.
However, Moscow has a daunting task to replace revenue lost as a result of the sanctions, not least from exports.
Data released Friday showed that EU imports from Russia fell by 51% in value between February and December last year.
The European bloc was one of Russia’s main trading partners before the invasion of Ukraine, with 38% of Russia’s exports going to the EU in 2020.
Russian government revenues fell 35% in January compared to a year ago, while expenditures jumped 59%, leaving a budget deficit of about 1.761 billion rubles ($23.3 billion).
Deripaska made his fortune in the aluminum trade during the chaotic scramble for assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 2018 the United States punished him. Last year, he was charged with “violating US sanctions,” and indicated that the business class close to Putin is “inseparable about the Russian state
Forbes estimates Deripaska’s current net worth at less than $3 billion.
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