WASHINGTON, November 10 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde discussed the state of global economy, regional problems, including the Ukraine crisis, and economic prospects for Russia at a meeting in Beijing on Monday, an IMF employee told TASS.
According to TASS previous reports from Beijing, the Russian president told Lagarde that the recent steps by the Russian Central Bank would hopefully normalize the situation in the Russian currency market.
“As you probably know, our national currency has been hit by certain speculative attacks lately. I hope the Central Bank’s steps and its most recent moves announced today will normalize the situation because we are deeply convinced that there are no fundamental factors and causes for such imbalances in the national currency,” Putin said.
“And today the Central Bank has announced that the national currency is switching to a free float but the Central Bank reserves the right to carry out interventions when it deems necessary,” Putin went on to say.
“And if the Central Bank also restrains certain liquidity provision, this will certainly punish speculators who have prepared for further speculative actions,” Putin explained said.
The Russian president added that the Russian Central Bank and the government would closely watch developments in the economy and interest rates, at which loans were provided to the real sector of the economy.
“As you know, we do not interfere in the Central Bank’s policy from the executive branch and the Central Bank conducts independent policy in compliance with law but we’ll, of course, watch closely the developments and try to implement by our joint efforts the development tasks we face,” Putin said.
The Russian president said he shared concerns over the situation in the global economy.
“We’re aware of your concerns over the state of the global economy. We share them. We believe the causes for this instability remain the same - first of all, this relates to a strong structural imbalance and a fall in business activity and investments in the real sector of the economy,” Putin told Lagarde.
“This prompts commodity market volatility and creates a sort of an endless circle: slow growth impedes debt repayment while the debt burden puts pressure on business activity,” Putin said.
Russia’s economic priorities remain the same, Putin said. “We’re trying not only to ensure growth but to give it a new quality. And we attach primary importance to maintaining sound macroeconomic policy. We have some of the G20 lowest debt indicators and quite large gold and foreign currency reserves. We continue watching the inflation level very closely and target it,” the president emphasized.
For her part, Christine Lagarde thanked Putin for the meeting and apologized for her late arrival. The Chinese police, she said, did not understand that I was going to meet you and tried to hold me back.
President Putin accepted her apologies. “Do not be angry with them. They are just performing their duty,” the Russian president told Lagarde.
She also thanked the Russian president for Russia’s support to the IMF, especially in questions of provision of global security.
Christine Lagarde said that the IMF had always been on Russia’s side especially when it came to particularly complicated programmes, which the managing director wanted to discuss with President Putin.
In conclusion, Lagarde shared her views about the Russian economy. She said that Russia had always been a decent and much respected member of the IMF team.