Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has denied rumors that a new world currency could appear soon.
“The United States’ financial and political authorities would never surrender the dollar; they would fight to the end,” he said, answering people’s questions at an employment center in the city of Podolsk yesterday. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, production in the U.S. dropped 40 percent, while it is currently down only 2 percent.
Putin expects the U.S. economy to recover, sooner or later. “There is no doubt about it. We don’t know what could happen if they go on with the same flawed economic policy they have been pursuing over the past few years, but there should be no tragedy in the medium term,” he emphasized.
At the same time, Putin said the Russian government is in a position to support the ruble even if oil prices collapse. The ruble has stabilized against the dollar and euro, he added, expressing confidence that the national currency will strengthen.
“The Central Bank is not planning any changes in the near future, and there are no reasons for that,” he noted, also adding that Russia was receiving a lot of foreign currency in the form of export revenues. “The inflow of foreign currency through exports is offset by the outflow through imports,” Putin explained.
“If there are no further dramatic changes on international markets – not one-off events but long-term trends – then nothing will happen. Even if oil prices drop for a short period, it is not too bad, as we can keep the balance using our reserves,” he concluded.
Russia’s trade surplus in January 2009 reached $8.4 billion, down $12.1 billion from January 2008, the Federal Customs Service reported. The country’s foreign trade turnover stood at $25.7 billion in January (Belarus’ figures included), down 46.6 percent year-on-year. Exports nosedived 50.3 percent to $17 billion, including $2.4 billion with the CIS countries (down 52.8 percent) and down $14.6 billion (down 49.9 percent) with other countries. Fuel and energy products accounted for 69 percent of Russia’s exports in January 2009, against 75.5 percent a year earlier.
Imports dropped 37.4 percent to $8.7 billion, including $1.1 billion from the CIS (down 47.6 percent) and $7.6 billion from other countries (down 35.5 percent).
Russia’s international reserves stood at $384.3 billion as of February 27, up $2.4 billion or 0.6 percent from $381.9 billion a week before, the Central Bank of Russia reported. Gold and foreign currency reserves are highly liquid financial assets controlled by the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry. They consist of foreign currency assets, monetary gold, special drawing rights, the reserve position in the International Monetary Fund, and other reserve assets.