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- January 1, 2015: Vol. 9, Number 1

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Where to from here? Russia has its dark side but it also has many plus points for investors

by Sheila Hopkins

“The economic system of Russia has undergone such rapid changes that it is impossible to obtain a precise and accurate account of it. … Almost everything one can say about the country is true and false at the same time.” — John Maynard Keynes, 1925

Russia is not making it easy for investors. Imagine you are a pension fund portfolio manager bringing an opportunity to your CIO. You, of course, start out with a positive: Russia’s $3.5 trillion (€2.8 trillion) economy is the sixth largest in the world by GDP (eighth, if based on its $2.1 trillion (€1.7 trillion) nominal size). If you are a global investor, that sounds like an economy you would want to be part of.

But that plus comes with a caveat. The Russian economy has slowed significantly as oil prices have fallen, the rouble has weakened and inflation has picked up. Add in the closing of credit markets brought on by the international sanctions, and you have an economy teetering on the edge of rec

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