The Ministry of Finance supported the initiative of a group of State Duma and Federation Council deputies to introduce fines for violating the rules for the mandatory sale of export proceeds, which were established by decree President Vladimir Putin. For its part, the government proposed to determine the maximum fine and appoint an agency that will deal with such cases. New measures will help strengthen the ruble exchange rate, experts told aif.ru.
Who will hand out fines and why?
The agency that will impose fines for refusal to sell foreign currency earnings, may become Rosfinmonitoring. Its employees have already been sent as authorized representatives to the boards of exporting companies, aif.ru recalled. Director of the Center for Economic Policy Research, Faculty of Economics, Moscow State University Oleg Buklemishev.
“It is possible that the development of this initiative will lead to the formation of some new system of currency control, a system of carrots and sticks for exporting companies, but at the current stage it is impossible to say for sure. The Central Bank, Rosfinmonitoring and its authorized representatives are already monitoring the sale of foreign currency proceeds, now they may have new powers,” the expert said.
New fines will discipline participants in foreign trade activities and will help strengthen the ruble exchange rate, said aif.ru Director of the Institute of Socio-Economic Research of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation Alexey Zubets.
“Fines for refusing to sell foreign currency earnings will have a positive effect on the ruble exchange rate. This is the right measure, because promises without some responsibility mean nothing, they are just kind words. For the currency sale measure to work, it is necessary to punish those who do not sell,” said Professor Zubets.
Due to external restrictions, organizing exports in Russia has become more complicated, and now exporters en masse use so-called gasket companies. First, they purchase goods from the Russian Federation in formal compliance with sanctions, and then sell them on the world market at free prices, he noted.
“Such a company can be located anywhere abroad, and it is on its accounts that foreign currency earnings are deposited. Formally, the presidential decree does not apply to them. Fines are needed in order to force the Russian owners of these gaskets to fulfill their obligations to sell currency not formally, but in essence,” explained Alexey Zubets.
How will this affect the dollar exchange rate?
The ruble exchange rate can strengthen to 80 per dollar due to the sale of foreign exchange earnings by exporters, but it is more likely that until spring it will fluctuate in the range from 85 to 95, Professor Zubets believes.
“There are two factors that have opposite effects on the ruble exchange rate. On the one hand, it is strengthened thanks to the presidential decree on the mandatory sale of foreign currency earnings and the operational measures that the authorities are taking to ensure that exporters comply with this decree,” he said.
“On the other hand, oil prices have been falling since September and export earnings are generally declining. This is due to the fact that the European and American economies are in a state of depression. And in these conditions, it is difficult to expect growth in export revenue from Russian companies,” the expert added.
If foreign trade conditions were favorable for Russia, one would expect the ruble to strengthen to 85 per dollar and beyond, Professor Zubets believes. However, until prices on the world market rise, the Russian national currency will not be able to strengthen so much.
“I would give a 30% chance of further strengthening of the ruble to 80 per dollar, this could also happen, but it is much more likely that until spring it will fluctuate in the range from 85 to 95 per dollar. The fundamentally sound rate now is from 95 to 105 rubles per dollar. It would be like this if all support measures were canceled, including the presidential decree on the sale of foreign currency earnings,” concluded Alexey Zubets.
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