The Russian Economic Development Ministry announced this week that capital flight from Russia is forecast to hit $110 billion this year, the second highest in over a decade, thanks to the increasingly erratic behavior of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
The invasion of Ukraine and increased military belligerence has resulted in tough western sanctions that limit foreign investment and force Russian companies to pay off billions of dollars in foreign debt.
The country seems to have accepted this new, harsh, reality as the ministry’s base forecast models U.S. and EU sanctions will remain in place through the end of 2018.
“This means that Russian companies’ access to world capital markets will remain limited and there will be quite a high level of capital outflow from the private sector due to debt repayments,” the report said.
The sanctions from the United States and European Union were imposed last year because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The result is that both economies are now effectively closed to Russian companies’, leaving them with $109 billion in debt payments coming due this year and no possibility of refinancing the loans.
Capital flight from Russia rose to an all-time high of $151.5 billion last year, nearly 300% greater than the outflow seen in 2013, according to Russian Central Bank data.
In addition to the torrential outflow of cash driven by debt repayments, the maniacal actions of Vladimir Putin, who appears increasingly unstable, have caused a severe fall in investor confidence. A sharp decline in oil prices, a key Russian export, is also contributing to the tough times.