The specter of presidential elections in March 2012 has in recent months resulted in a sharp increase in capital outflows, which totaled $21 billion in the first quarter, following total outflows of $35 billion in 2010. The exodus of capital, which has taken place despite a strengthening ruble and high oil prices, is widely attributed to investors and local oligarchs shifting capital outside of Russia out of fear of destabilizing political change. The high-profile tie-up between BP and Russian oil producer Rosneft announced in January was on the rocks after an arbitration court blocked the deal.
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