Transition has started. While the timing and sequence are uncertain, it appears obvious that the process of political transition has started. The question is when, and how, the elites and security forces will act. Moscow can be expected to exert a great deal of influence, a fact not lost on the protestors who have avoided blaming Moscow.
Economy less bad than expected. The Russian economy contracted by 8.5% YoY in 2Q20, with weakness in “all areas except agriculture”, according to Rosstat. This decline is better than had been predicted and confirms the recovery trend seen in June, when GDP fell 6.4% YoY.
Rapid growth rate maintained. The Russian e-commerce sector is maintaining its strong growth, with turnover rising 23 % in 2019 to US$23 billion. Pre-Covid-19 forecasts were for market growth of around 17% in 2020 – however, all bets are now off. Some e-commerce sectors will race ahead, above that forecast. Others will lag, although the overall growth figure will be impressive.
An increasingly important theme. We are initiating coverage of the ESG theme with this report. Shortly we will expand coverage to cover the other Eurasia states.
More focused. After many years of including the development of the agriculture and food sectors in five-year development plans, President Tokayev’s government has become a lot more focused on practical steps to help the sector grow and become a bigger part of the economy and exports.
Constitutional changes pass. The popular vote on the changes to the Constitution – not a referendum or a Constitutional vote – passed, with turnout of 68%. The yes vote was 78%, the no vote was 21%.
National Recovery Plan (NPR). The government presented the recovery plan for the economy. It is due to start on July 1st and has a target of restoring growth to at least 2.5% by end 2021. The total cost
is estimated at under 5% of last year’s GDP (see separate report).
Strong oil rally … The price of Brent rallied 121% from the April 24th low to the June 8th high. The key drivers of that rally include optimism that the demand loss in 2020 will be less than feared and the positive actions and statements from the OPEC+ members. The agreement to extend the period of deepest cuts for an extra month shows a firm commitment by the major producers to maintaining the OPEC+ structure. The loss of Libyan oil, as fighting escalated in the country, also helped support the price rally in May.
Much of the legislative season for 2020 in Washington is already gone, with precious little to show for it. The serious political season now begins, with all focus on the November national elections (not just for the presidency, mind you). A pre-election summer in America is always a contentious period, but this year looks to be the most combative — in every sense — since the infamous “long
hot summer” of 1968.
What has been agreed? Moscow and Riyadh have resolved the dispute that threatened to kill OPEC+. Both sides reached a compromise regarding base production and future cuts that allowed the OPEC+ Group to agree an aggregate cut of 9.7 million barrels, starting May 1st. These cuts will be scaled back with an agreed timetable and will end in December 2022. But the members have agreed to a review on June 10th.