Business daily Vedomosti.ru reported that the Russian Ministry of Economy estimated the capital outflow from the Russian Federation in February at USD 6 billion, down from an estimated outflow of USD 8-10 billion in January. Economists believe that the capital outflow in the immediate future will depend, among other things, on the solution to the Cyprus banking crisis. That said, some Russian government officials actually expect that the Cyprus crisis will steer investors towards Russia. Experts don’t share their enthusiasm and believe that the capital outflow is caused by a decline in industrial output (0.8 and 2.1 percent for January and February, respectively) and a perceived weakness of the Russian economy, and that it might reach USD 80 billion in 2013.
The Ministry of Economy still forecasts that the total capital outflow for 2013 will be no higher than USD 10 billion, as it expects that the outflows in the first half of the year will be compensated by an inflow in the second half. The Russian Central Bank supports the Ministry’s expectations, forecasting a capital outflow of USD 10 billion for the entire year should the price of oil remain at USD 97 per barrel. Earlier in March, the Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov stated that he’d like to be optimistic and forecasted a capital outflow of USD 10-15 billion for 2013. On the other hand, the Minister of Economy Andrey Belousov stated in February that the outflow for 2013 might reach USD 50 billion. According to the Central Bank, the capital outflow from Russia in 2012 reached USD 56.8 billion, down from USD 80.5 billion in 2011.
It is known that figures might vary depending on the methodology, and so in 2012 an accounting company Ernst&Young, together with Russian partners, suggested that capital investments made by Russian companies abroad should not be treated as capital outflow. According to such methodology, the capital outflow figure for 2011 would be reduced from USD 80.5 billion to USD 32.3 billion. The Central Bank, however, decided to stick with its usual methodology.