21 Mar 2014
By Larry Kudlow
„…if anybody believes it will be easy to financially deflate Russia, they better think again.
- Russia holds $132 billion of U.S. Treasury securities. That’s a big number, and it could be sold in the event of financial warfare. That won’t kill the United States. But it will undoubtedly cause interest rates to rise… His central bank just spent $50 billion to defend a sinking ruble, which is off about 10 percent year to date. But that still leaves about
- $400 billion in foreign-exchange reserves that could be called upon to defend the Russian homeland in an emergency…But as I noted, the initial rounds of sanctions seem to be working. Just this week, after he was put on the U.S. sanction list, Putin pal Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire Russian oil tycoon, cut and ran by selling his 43 percent share in the oil-trading Gunvor Group. Putin is accused of being an investor in that group and of having access to its funds. Other Putin billionaire cronies hit by the Obama sanctions include Vladimir Yakunin, the chairman of state-owned Russian Railways, and Yuri Kovalchuk, allegedly Putin’s personal banker. And the favorite bank of these folks,
- Bank Rossiya, has been sanctioned Foreigners probably won’t do business with them.
- Visa and MasterCard are pulling out of Rossiya. And reports are that
- Rosneft, the big state-owned oil company, has been delisted on the London stock exchange. If true, that would be a significant development. Undoubtedly,
- future Obama sanctions will go after all the big oligarchs. For example, oligarchs who own U.S. basketball teams, Pennsylvania coal mines and steel mills, the Lukoil chain of U.S. gas stations, and various high-priced condominiums in New York.
- Russian oligarch property in Europe is even greater, including football clubs, large industrial complexes, and airlines. And bank accounts… In recent years,
- Russia has raised $400 billion in stocks and bonds on the London stock exchange. Roughly 70 Russian companies are traded as depository receipts, and numerous IPOs have been sold there. So if Britain closed its financial markets and its banks to Russia, the blow would be huge… Another major source of Russian funding is
- S. mutual funds, with investments worth a reported $325 billion. Big outfits like Pimco, BlackRock, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and T. Rowe Price have served as the emerging-market investment intermediaries. And if that money were pulled, another gigantic blow would land on Russia’s finances and economy. The ruble would completely tank, forcing the Russian central bank to spend big chunks of those $400 billion in foreign-exchange reserves. And then there’s
- Western bank lending to Russian business: $51 billion from France, $37 billion from the U.S., and $20 billion to $30 billion each from Italy, Germany, the U.K., and the Netherlands.
The point of all this is that the deflation of the Russian financial system and economy can be done through strict and severe banking sanctions. But those sanctions have to come from Europe as well as the United States…
Of course, there other muscular ways to penalize and contain Russia. There could be
- a European ban on Russian energy imports. Or a large-scale (if symbolic) Obama endorsement of U.S. natural-gas exports, including 25 new permits for LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals.
- Renegotiating Polish and Czech Republic missile-defense systems, a harder-line NATO military campaign, and
- military assistance to Ukraine all fit in the package.
- Kicking Russia out of the G-8 is another good idea.
But make no mistake about it, deflating Russia financially and economically will require a completely united front by the U.S. and Europe. Essentially, banks and investment funds will have to stop doing business with Russia. No loans to Russian companies. No stock market activities. No investments. No nothing. That’s how difficult this job is going to be.“
Trotz westlicher Sanktionen und Wirtschaftskrise hat Russland im vergangenen Jahr so viel Öl gefördert wie noch nie seit dem Ende der Sowjetunion. Die Produktion stieg 2014 um 0,7 Prozent auf 10,58 Millionen Barrel pro Tag (bpd) und damit auf rund 527 Millionen Tonnen, wie das Energieministerium in Moskau mitteilte… Da sich Russland wegen der Strafmaßnahmen von EU und USA im Ukraine-Konflikt verstärkt in Asien nach Kunden umschaut, wuchs der Export nach China um 43 Prozent auf den Rekordwert von 22,6 Millionen Tonnen (452.000 bpd).