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S&P: Russia's sensitivity to oil prices has diminished since 2016


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S&P: Russia's sensitivity to oil prices has diminished since 2016

Russia's economic and financial conditions have become less sensitive to oil price fluctuations over the last couple of years, due to government policies and international sanctions, though the economy remains dependent on the commodity.

In a March 14 report, S&P Global Ratings highlighted increasing oil prices and a weakening exchange rate during most of 2018 in what seemed to be an unusual combination.

Non-energy exports have increased recently, though it will take time for them to drive Russia's exports.

The government now targets a primary budget deficit of 0.5% of GDP, based on a "very conservative" oil price, delinking fiscal spending from windfall oil revenues, according to the report.

The country's new fiscal framework aims to decouple domestic economic and financial conditions from oil price movements.

International sanctions, high interest rates in Russia and prospects for a decline in Russian bond yields have made the country's financial flows "less procyclical" over the past few years, Ratings said.

"If accompanied by structural reform, the weaker transmission of oil price volatility to Russia's economy could gradually facilitate economic diversification and sustainably boost economic growth," according to the report.