Tuesday, January 17, 2017

17/1/17: Russian Economic Policy Uncertainty 2016

In the previous post (link here), I covered 2016 full year spike in economic policy uncertainty in Europe on foot of amplification of systemic risks. Here is the analysis of Russian index.

As shown in the chart above, 2016 continued the trend for downward correction in Russian economic policy uncertainty that took the index from its all-time high in 2014 (at 180.4) to 160 in 2015 and 142.5 in 2016. All data is rebased to 1994 - the first year for which Russian data is available. However, at 142.5, the index is still well above its historical average of 94.1 and stands at the fifth highest reading in history.

Much of the reduction in economic policy uncertainty over 2016 came over the fist seven months of the year, with index readings rising into the second half of 2016 and peaking at 251.1 in December.

In simple terms, while the peak of 2014 crisis has now passed, questions about economic policies in Russia remain, in line with concerns about the sustainability of the nascent economic recovery. Moderation in economic policy uncertainty over the course of 2016 appears to be closely aligned with:

  1. Variations in oil prices outlook; and
  2. External geopolitical shocks (including the election of Donald Trump, with raw index data spiking in August and September 2016 and November and December 2016, while falling in October, in line with Mr. Trump's electoral prospect).
In other words, relative moderation in the index appears to reflect mostly exogenous factors, rather than internal structural reforms or policies changes.

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