Press review: Russia considers interest rate hike, Serbia refuses to join EU sanctions – Press review

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RBC: Finland calls for cooperation between EU and Russia, senior diplomat says

Cooperation between the European Union and Russia is valuable and Moscow also benefits from it, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in an interview with RBC.

He pointed out that many companies from European Union countries created jobs in Russia, including many Finnish companies active in the country. According to the senior diplomat, bilateral relations between Finland and Russia are based on the search for solutions, in particular concerning the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Haavisto was confident that trade between the two countries would soon return to pre-pandemic levels. There are many areas where Helsinki and Moscow could strengthen their cooperation, especially in waste management and forestry, he said.

The senior Finnish diplomat believes it is crucial to understand the reasons why EU-Russia relations have weakened. The European Union is ready to maintain dialogue with Russia, said European diplomat Josep Borrell visiting Moscow in February, Haavisto stressed, adding that he himself had met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in twice in 2021.

The Finnish Foreign Minister also stressed the need for the EU and Russia to exchange views despite their disagreements. Haavisto highlighted the cooperation under the Schengen Agreement, which is important for many Russians as it allows them to travel not only to the destination country but also to all other Schengen countries.

According to Haavisto, there are many areas where dialogue is needed, including tackling climate change, protecting the environment and healthcare. Cooperation to resolve these common problems is in the interest of all parties. In addition, it is very important to maintain person-to-person contact, which must have been limited during the pandemic, stressed the senior Finnish diplomat.

Izvestia: Central Bank of Russia determined to act to curb inflation

The Central Bank of Russia will raise the key interest rate to 5.5% at a board meeting on June 11, writes Izvestia, citing experts. This development is the result of rising prices and high inflation expectations.

The regulator has toughened its rhetoric after inflation rates showed no signs of falling steadily in May, said Igor Rapokhin, senior debt market strategist at SberCIB Investment Research. “Public inflation expectations approached a four-year high in May, reaching 11.3% for the next 12 months. Notably, the policy rate stood at 10% at the start of 2017, when expectations of People’s inflation were similar, while today the rate is 5%, “the expert noted.

The effect of a key rate hike will be felt in the second half of the year, said Denis Popov, PSB chief analyst. According to him, consumer inflation will stabilize for the time being against a backdrop of seasonally falling food prices, although the prices of non-food goods and services continue to rise.

Another reason to raise the key rate is the regulator’s concern about the increase in banks‘ personal loan portfolio, which increased by 20% in early May compared to last year, the rating agency noted. NRA. At the same time, personal deposits only increased by 5%. With the objective of the Central Bank of Russia being to ensure balanced growth of loans to individuals and to encourage the public to transfer their money to financial institutions, the regulator will take measures to contain loans and make bank deposits more attractive, especially by raising the key rate, NRA analysts say.

Izvestia: Serbia hesitates to impose sanctions on Russia, says parliament speaker

Serbia will not join the European Union if it compromises the country’s national interests, Serbian National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said in an interview with Izvestia. The Speaker of Parliament announced plans to produce four million doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in the country over the next 12 months and clarified expectations for the next meeting between Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden of the States -United.

According to Dacic, “Serbia is one of the few countries to have made several vaccines available at the same time”. “The Serbian people can choose between Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sputnik and Sinovac,” he noted. “The Russian drug is certainly very popular. I myself was vaccinated with Sputnik after the start of the vaccination campaign in January,” said the speaker of the Serbian parliament. “Serbia is now starting vaccine production and we plan to produce four million doses in the first year. It is crucial for us to meet the needs of our population. We also plan to export the vaccine. I am sure many countries will be interested in purchasing Sputnik. V, ”Dacic added.

Speaking of Belgrade’s political ambitions, he stressed that “the Serbian people are in favor of joining the European Union”. “This is one of our goals due to our geostrategic location. However, we do not plan to join the EU if it turns out that this decision goes against our state and national interests. Russia is our friend and partner, Moscow supports the Serbs in the Kosovo issue, which concerns the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country. Serbia will certainly not impose any sanctions on Russia, “Dacic stressed.

Asked about Belgrade’s expectations vis-à-vis the Putin-Biden summit, he said that “everyone would benefit from easing the tensions between Russia and the United States”. “We would very much like the meeting to help increase the level of trust and global cooperation. A positive outcome of the meeting would be very important for peace and stability,” concluded the Speaker of the Serbian parliament.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: New clashes looming on the Sino-Indian border

As soon as the snow began to melt in the Himalayas, China and India began sending more reconnaissance patrols and building defenses. Last year thousands of soldiers clashed along the line of real control. As the line was not correctly marked, clashes sometimes broke out over segments 100 to 200 meters long. Analysts do not rule out that a new conflict may erupt, although Moscow and Washington seek to prevent it, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

According to the consultant editor of the monthly India Strategic Vinay Shukla, India has taken a close look at what Russian President Vladimir Putin said in St. Petersburg about the border dispute between India and China. He noted that the leaders of India and China, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping, were responsible people able to find a solution to any complicated problem. Shukla pointed out that Putin was the only world leader who could quickly get in touch with Xi Jinping when needed, so the Kremlin had a chance to positively influence the situation.

“Putin stressed that no outside power should interfere in the dispute,” noted the expert. “This is a very important message. New Delhi pursues an independent foreign policy and seeks to resolve problems with neighboring countries on a bilateral basis, without any mediator,” added Shukla.

Daniel Markey, senior research professor in international relations at Johns Hopkins University, based in the United States, pointed out in this regard that the United States has sought to maintain closer relations with India to make the country capable to better counter China. Now that US-China relations have entered an era of so-called extreme competition, according to US President Joe Biden, India is becoming even more important to Washington. At the same time, the risk of clashes between India and China is increasing.

Izvestia: Russia’s de-dollarization effort drives up gold prices

The Russian National Wealth Fund will completely empty the dollar within a month. The dollar, whose share was 35%, will be replaced by the euro, yuan and gold, whose share will rise to 20%, writes Izvestia.

Russia has actively increased its gold reserves over the past 12 years. In 2008, the Russian Central Bank had only 400 tons of gold, and in May 2021, the quantity reached almost 2,300 tons, placing Russia in the world’s top five gold reserves after the United States, Germany, Italy and France.

The National Wealth Fund has long been committed to reducing its share of dollar assets. Gold has become one of the more attractive options due to its price movements over the past 15 years against other currencies that serve as an alternative to the dollar, multiplying nearly six times.

TeleTrade chief analyst Petr Pushkarev believes the move has largely been completed, with foreign exchange and gold purchased. According to him, the rise in the price of gold in May from $ 1,770 to nearly $ 1,920 an ounce indirectly confirms that this is where things stand. Perhaps the activities of the Russian Ministry of Finance were one of the reasons for the rise in prices.

“If the National Wealth Fund decides to regularly buy gold in the domestic market, it will provide significant support to the Russian gold industry. In fact, this year, many central banks were drawn to the idea of ​​increasing the share of gold in their gold and currency reserves in order to bolster financial stability amid rising sovereign debt. and currency issuance around the world, ”said Airat Khalikov, analyst at the Gazprombank Center for Economic Forecasting.

TASS is not responsible for the material cited in these press reviews.

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