To pay or not to pay. That is the question

Finance Ministry carried out the last payment of the current year to the International Monetary Fund - $24 million 615 thousand as Russia’s debt payment. As it was said, the sum was transmitted pursuant to the payment schedule. The previous payment was made on December 17 - $24 million 607 thousand.

In spite of the unstable situation on the oil market, Russia keeps paying back its debts to the IMF, doing it ahead of the scheduled time. Russia is creating a positive image to itself in the West that way. This image will be very good to Russia, when there is an issue about the delay of the debt payment to the Paris club. This is also important from the point of view of the inflow of the foreign investments in the Russian economy. The Western investors will not cooperate, if there is a threat to get them back with the interest or without it.

Today’s statement form Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin was rather optimistic. As Kudrin believes, Russia's financial reserve for the foreign debt payments could make up over $3 billion as of January 1, 2002.

“The year 2001 was more even more successful and favourable than the previous one, since we managed not only to execute the budget on the revenues, but also saved the proficit under the conditions of the oil price reduction and the decrease of the payment balance. This is the highest level of proficit in Russia’s history,” – said the minister.

The today’s information about the price rise on oil is making it all even more optimistic. The oil prices went up to the level of $20. The oil market is motionless, waiting for a decision from OPEC, the session of which is to take place on December 28 in Cairo. As it is supposed, they will make a decision pertaining to the reduction of the oil extraction by 1.5 million barrels daily from January 1, 2002, if the independent oil manufacturers jointly cut their production by 500 thousand barrels.

Russia, Norway and other countries have already promised to reduce the deliveries by 462.5 thousand barrels daily, but OPEC considers this amount to be insufficient and insists on 500 thousand barrels. We will find out, who the winner is on December 28. What if OPEC does not give in? Then there is a question: to pay or not to pay, and if yes, then will there be enough money, if we turn to the West begging again.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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