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The government began to discuss the use of funds of the national welfare Fund. What projects can receive support and how this will affect our economy and the ruble?
the national wealth Fund is growing at a record pace. Now it has accumulated more than 7.8 trillion rubles, or 124,1 billion dollars since the beginning of the year, its volume doubled by the end of the year its liquid part can exceed 7% of GDP. This means that the money the government can spend at its discretion. For example, the execution of the may presidential decree, according to which, we will remind, Russia should be among the five largest economies in the world.
How much intend to spend, is still unknown. If you believe the statements of the first Vice-Premier, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, the authorities will maintain a constant balance of the NWF at 7% of GDP. Thus, according to him, this does not mean that they will spent all the "surplus". Meanwhile, the subsidies from the national welfare Fund already lined up state-owned corporations. One only "Gazprom" is required for the construction of a plant for production of liquefied natural gas and gas-chemical complex in Ust-Luga of about 2.3 trillion rubles. What can be the money spent and where it may lead?
the Road is long, the state house
the government has the view that the NWF to focus on infrastructure development. In particular, in support of a project of modernization of BAM and TRANS-Siberian railway, the construction of port facilities and roads. The last item is in the may decree. Only for the reconstruction of BAM and Transsib, according to the CEO of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov, required nearly 700 billion rubles.
in part, this means creating new jobs, although some of the demand for labour will be compensated by the inflow of labor migrants. Plus, the winner will be the construction and metallurgical company. But the "economic miracle" should not wait: the maximum this will add to GDP growth of 0.3–0.5 percentage points, while the effect will be long-term. First, because of the low efficiency, and secondly, because of the growth in the costs of maintaining infrastructure. "Infrastructure projects can become a source of constant costs of maintaining infrastructure major sporting events or temporary-permanent the Moscow road-transport system", — says analyst "Discovery Broker" Andrei Kochetkov.
But for the ruble increased spending on infrastructure projects — the news is negative. Especially if the authorities will not convert the currency on the accounts of NWF, and will resort to the additional issue. This way, the government had resorted, for example, when rescuing banks. Such a scenario consider the analysts of Raiffeisenbank. According to them, it can lead to growth of dollar exchange rate on 1-2% (depending on investment volume), but virtually no impact on inflation. "The main costs in the construction — this is the cost of building materials and equipment import, the share of wages is negligible. Most likely, it will cause the growth in consumer demand, and people will prefer to repay loans or send money to savings," explains the analyst of Bank Stanislav Murashov.
More tanks, good and different
Option number two is to send money to the export credit. The probability of this development by the majority of experts assessed as very high. Moreover, the state regularly resorted to the lending of arms exports. Either provides loans for projects of Russian companies abroad. For example, only the NPP construction project in Egypt you may need 25 billion dollars.
Another possible item of expenditure — the program "Pharma-2030", whose mission is to increase volumes of export of Russian medicines up to four times — up to 1 billion dollars a year. "Cost of clinical trials is very expensive, so the state could provide support to producers, lending to studies," says the Director of analytical Department IK "Region" Valery Weisberg.
Most experts, however, believe that the main beneficiaries are large companies of the commodity sector and the defence sector. The annual volume of supplies of Russian military equipment to export about 16 billion dollars. Russia is number two in the list of the countries — exporters of arms.
it is not known whether this will lead to additional inflow of dollars into the country, but, according to the expert "BCS Premier" Anton Pokatovich, such costs will not lead to higher prices in the country. For the ruble, this option also proved to be positive: strengthening of our national currency may be expected, however, it would be more resistant to external shocks.
Help the oligarch
Some experts do not see anything wrong if the money will be used, for example, the aid of major raw materials companies like NOVATEK, who need the money to build tankers for the project "Arctic LNG 2". Previously, the company was granted funds from the Fund for the project "Yamal LNG". Another contender for support from the state — "Rosneft", which wants to receive a tax deduction in exchange for the development of the Priobskoye field. It is about 46 billion rubles a year.
"Interesting and expensive task for the Fund, such as the updating of production capacity for the state oil fields. It's a long, costly and unprofitable, but necessary, because the country will still be sitting on the oil needle" — the analyst of information and analytical center "Alpari" Anna Bodrov. Obviously, the government talk as well. As has declared to Agency "Interfax" the Director of the Department of tax and customs policy of the Ministry of Finance Alexey Sazonov, to compensate for the shortfall in incomes of the budget from tax breaks for Rosneft, the government may increase mineral extraction tax and a tax with the production of associated natural gas. Earlier in the Ministry of Finance also discussed the possibility to compensate for lost revenues due to the NWF.
According to Bodrova, the introduction of new taxes will inevitably affect the growth of inflation. "Resource companies in the end still will impose their costs on customers," she says. But the quick effect of modernization deposits due to the inflow of petrodollars into the country may not be. "First, such large-scale projects require huge costs, and the timing of their implementation can take decades. Secondly, not the fact that the company will receive proceeds from concessions for infrastructure development, and, for example, to reduce its debt burden," — says the analyst.
Among analysts surveyed Banks.ru, the most popular idea to spend the excess Fund for investment in development projects of private business. In some of them, especially social orientation, the state could act as a co-investor. And we are talking about domestic and foreign projects. That is to go the way of China, which seeks to create high-tech production in the country.
"Roads, bridges and airports is good, but roads and bridges need something to transport, and airports — use for tourism or business trips," says Kochetkov from "Opening Broker". For example, according to him, if there is demand for electronic components, chips, etc., the government could act as co-investor for foreign companies, which could offer preferential joint financing and taxation on projects for the development of new industries. "This would lead to the emergence of new high-paying jobs, raising the level of training of internal manpower reserves, and also would reduce the technological gap", — says the analyst.
the Other way is to use the NWF following the example of other sovereign wealth funds for investment in securities of foreign companies, venture capital projects and infrastructure. However, few believe that in the current geopolitical situation, the authorities will be to buy, say, shares of us companies. "This would to a certain financial result in the long term, but does not help the development of its own economy," says chief strategist of the company "Univer Capital" Dmitry Alexandrov.
the Less likely experts are inclined to believe that the government can use the Fund to lower taxes on businesses, the repeal of excise taxes and duties, as well as encouraging domestic consumption. "This is one of the main ways to raise the economy to the world, but not for us. It is obvious that the authorities will not do" — said the analyst of "Finam" Alexey Kalachev. However, according to him, any financial support will not benefit without reforms the major institutions of the country.
albert KOSHKAROV, Banki.ru
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