A variety of experts forecast continued doom and gloom for Russia’s economy, which has hit the skids since oil prices began plunging last year.
Some went as far as to predict the end of the country itself.
“Russia has a lot of problems,” investment guru Jim Rogers told Bloomberg TV. “There’s a good chance it will continue to disintegrate into more than one country.”
As for the economy specifically, “I’m not optimistic about the future of the ruble,” he says.
“They have natural resources to some extent, but their reserves are declining. They have been stripping assets for some time. Oil production has peaked for the foreseeable future.”
Similarly, NYU economist Nouriel Roubini — known as Dr. Doom for presciently forecasting the global financial crisis — is also bearish on Russia. “They have lost a lot of reserves trying to defend the ruble,” he points out in the same interview.
“Growth might be negative 3 to 4 percent this year. Unemployment is rising. There’s political instability. There are already riots in the street.”
Roubini points out that the shift has come quickly. Just 18 months ago, Russia’s economy was growing at a hefty 8 percent annual clip.
And now? “There’s really a mood of malaise,” he says.
To be sure, not everyone is pessimistic about Russia. Count investment guru Nassim Taleb as one of the optimists. The strength of the world’s economies is relative, he points out.
Comparatively, “Russia seems to me rather robust,” he says.
“The whole world is very fragile. The question is where would you rather be: In Moscow or London? I’d much rather be in Moscow.”
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