Putin says no plans for capital controls for ruble

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2014 3:14 AM
Putin says no plans for capital controls for ruble

BEIJING (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Moscow has adequate resources to defend its plunging ruble and ruled out capital controls or other "emergency measures."

Moscow is taking "necessary steps" in response to the "serious fluctuation" of its currency, Putin told an audience of businesspeople before a summit of leaders of 21 Asia-Pacific economies.

The ruble has plummeted by 40 percent this year due to concern over the Ukraine crisis and falling prices for Russia's main exports of oil and gas.

Russia's central bank has been spending $30 billion a month buying rubles in currency markets to support the exchange rate.

"Our fundamentals in terms of currency reserves and balance of payments remain at good levels. That allows us to control the situation without taking any extraordinary emergency steps," Putin said. "We are not planning to impose any restrictions at all on capital flows."

Putin also used the appearance to make a sales pitch for Asian investment in Russia.

Moscow is looking to Asia to help reduce its reliance on European and other Western markets amid sanctions imposed over its role in Ukraine.

At a time when Moscow is isolated in the West, this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit gives the Russian leader an unusual chance on the international stage to appear in a welcoming setting.

The APEC host, China, is on good terms with Russia and has refrained from joining in Western sanctions imposed over Ukraine. Beijing signed a multi-decade contract this year to buy Russian gas in a deal valued at up to $400 billion.

"We want you to come and succeed," Putin told the businesspeople from China, Japan and other Asian economies.

He pointed to the role of Japanese investors in developing oil and gas sources on Sakhalin Island off Russia's east coast and a Chinese stake in infrastructure construction.

The Russian leader said his government is simplifying investment, tax and other regulations.

"It is our top priority to create a conducive environment for business," he said.