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Russia not ‘abandoning’ the greenback, its the dollar that’s ‘abandoning’ Russia — Putin

November 28, 14:54 UTC+3

Russia is satisfied with oil price in the $60 per barrel range, Vladimir Putin stated

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/.Moscow is not setting its sights on ditching the greenback, President Vladimir Putin said at the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" on Wednesday, emphasizing that the US dollar is losing assets.

"We are not aiming to abandon the dollar, it's the dollar that is abandoning us, and those who take these respective (sanctions) decisions are shooting themselves not even in the foot, but a bit higher, because such instability in dollar calculations fuels the desire of many global economies to find alternative reserve currencies and create settlement systems independent of the dollar," he said.

According to Putin, assets in dollars even held by the biggest holders are shrinking. Russia is also searching for currency alternatives to settlements and regarding the accumulation of reserves. "For example, 70% of our exports and 30% of imports with EAEU countries are conducted in rubles," the head of state pointed out.

Putin has called on the United States to abandon the policy of unilateral sanctions and seek common ground.

"What advice can be offered here? To abandon this policy [of unilateral sanctions - TASS] and seek common ground. We are ready for that, we want that. I said this more than once. I hope that, if we can talk with the US president in Argentina, we will discuss that too," Putin said at the "Russia calling!" VTB Capital Investment Forum when asked how relations between Russia and the US could be improved.

Russia’s economy has adjusted to external shocks and offers conditions for the country’s development, he said. 

"I think that currently there is an understanding of the fact that despite all downturns and even simulated challenges, the Russian economy is adjusting to those challenges, feels confident and presents conditions for its own development," he said. President Putin views the engine of GDP growth at 1.5% this year, and fixed investment amounting to 4.1%. "This demonstrates that investors feel confident about the future, being aware of the policy pursued by the Russian financial authorities. It is stable, reliable and predictable," he said, adding that "many factors indicate that the economy has adjusted to the external shocks."

Current economic growth rates are not sufficient for the dramatic improvement in living standards but measures to speed it up are undertaken, he added. 

"It is obvious that current economic growth rates are not sufficient for the cardinal rise in living standards of our citizens. We speak about it and understand this," Putin said. "We are building up the whole development program in order to change the situation," he said.

Oil price

The most balanced and fair oil price for the Russian economy is $60 per barrel, Putin said.

"In my opinion, around $60 is an absolutely acceptable price, it suits us," Putin said. He explained that the expenditure part of the budget is based on price of $40 per barrel.

"The price that I am talking about is balanced and fair," the President added. "We are still in contact with OPEC, and, if necessary, we will continue this joint work," he concluded, answering a question about further cooperation between Russia and OPEC.

Putin also noted that in 2017, Russia and OPEC managed to carry out "soft work" to regulate the oil market and satisfy the interests of both producers and consumers. He noted the contribution of Saudi Arabia, and in particular, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in achieving a successful OPEC+ deal.

It was reported earlier that Putin could discuss oil cooperation with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina.

Currently, Russia and Saudi Arabia are discussing oil production policy for 2019. Saudi Arabia is leaning towards the idea of reducing production due to growth of global reserves and shale oil production in the United States. Russia has not yet expressed support for the idea.

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