- Financial Warfare Front Against Russia!
The U.S./UK credit cut-off of Russia which has been formally “threatened” since White House spokesman Jay Carney’s April 14 press conference, is in fact, already fully in operation.
Bloomberg reported April 16, and again April 22, that there have been no successful Eurobond issues by Russian companies or agencies since Crimea was annexed. For the year since January 1, there have been only two Eurobond issues — one by Gazprom, and on by Sberbank — for $1 billion each, compared to $13 billion for the same period last year. Fees collected by banks in Moscow through April 20 — which are associated with such credit deals — are $108 million; last year the amount was $325 million through the same date. Bond-deal fees have disappeared by 75%.
Russia had capital flight in the first quarter 2014 equal to 15% of GDP, according to Rossstat; this has been actively organized by the Obama Treasury and White House. In another example of this today, the Financial Times carried a column advising “international investors” not to buy any Russian bonds. The author was Mohammed El-Arian, who just resigned (or was fired) in a huff from the famous PIMCO, and immediately became chief economic adviser to Allianz and the chairman of Barack Obama’s Global Development Council.
The Russian government on April 18 forecast a recession in the second and third quarters of 2014.
But Bloomberg News also cited reports by both Moody’s and Fitch that Russian companies can easily survive a complete foreign shut-off from the bond market for 18 months. Moody’s analyzed 47 Russian companies, Fitch 55; they all have sufficient cash and earnings at their disposal during the next 18 months, and sufficient foreign currency, to finance themselves, at least insofar as continuing normal business operations.
And Russian external debt of all kinds is a low 35% of GDP; sovereign debt is less than 15% of GDP. Russia has made no foreign borrowings in 2014 at all, having cancelled several issues, because the interest rates likely to be demanded were too high and the issues could have failed. The government thus faces a situation similar to that which Lincoln’s administration faced in 1861, when it began to implement the Greenback policy.