Is Russia's Economy Worse Than ETF Lets On? | ETF Trends

The Russian economy and exchange traded fund (ETF) have made big strides this year. Experts warn, however, that there may be some trouble ahead, as the recent financial crisis has given the state more control of the economy. But is this control covering up what’s actually still a struggling economy?The Kremlin has about $600 billion under its belt, and assistance from the International Monetary Fund is no longer needed. Liam Denning reports for The Wall Street Journal that powerful oligarchs are seeking capital from the Kremlin, and the energy sector is already dominated by them as well. The strength of the Kremlin should be enough to stave off a repeat of the 1990s.

But corruption in Russia remains a problem. While the country has worked to address it, the crisis could set back any efforts to step up transparency. Russia’s population has also lost about 4% since the collapse of the Soviet Union. That, paired with the fact that the working-age population could decline by 10 million by 2020 and 30%-40% of Russian males die during their working years, and maintaining productivity could be a challenge.

Private investment is pulling back and some  big investors are asking the government to step up to the plate in an effort to help business succeed and the economy grow, reports Yuriy Humber and Ellen Pinchuk for Bloomberg. Russia’s economy is shrinking for the first time in a decade, and many want to see the government focus on stimulating growth.

  • Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX): up 63.3% year-to-date

The historic summit for the BRIC countries took place this week, with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China trying to find common ground to make their $2.8 trillion in reserves the most flexible. Lyubov Pronina, Lucian Kim and Alex Nicholson for Bloomberg report that the BRIC summit is a direction of movement. Investors watched the meeting for clues as to how the countries, which are among the biggest holders of U.S. Treasuries, will manage their reserves.

The parties agreed to boost their global clout at the summit, but aside from that, it appears to have been an uneventful meeting.

For more stories on Russia, visit our Russia category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.