19th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum opens

19th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum opens

The problems of the global economy, attracting foreign investors to Russia, the search for new sources of growth in conditions of western sanctions, anti-crisis measures and issues of monetary policy will be the main topics for discussion on the first day of the 19th Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

A total of 843 representatives of 450 foreign companies, including PwC, Ernst&Young, McKinsey, Metro AG, Shell, TUI AG, Total, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), BP, Enel, Eni, Societe General, and KinRoss have confirmed their participation. The forum is expected to be attended by representatives of 1600 companies.

A major event of the forum’s first day will be a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and CEOs of the world’s biggest investment and sovereign funds. According to the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriyev, the meeting will be attended by representatives from more than 27 funds from 16 countries, including the US, Saudi Arabia, China, European and Middle Eastern countries.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the entire economic bloc of the Russian government will be present at this meeting. "Typically, the participants of such meetings are those organizations that are co-investors with the Russian Direct Investment Fund. They speak about projects they implement, about their problems and about what the authorities should do to help," TASS cited him as saying.

The Russian President will also have a bilateral meeting with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman. After that he will meet with China’s Executive Vice Premier of the State Council, Zhang Gaoli, and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amanoto. Apart from that the president will discuss problems of the development of small and medium-sized businesses with CEOs of Russian industrial companies.

It is expected that about 70 agreements, including a number of big contracts, will signed within the framework of the forum. Venezuela’s State Oil Company PDVSA and Russia’s Rosneft will sign an agreement on joint work on new projects in Venezuela.

The programme of the forum’s first day includes the discussion of prospects for Russian-Japanese and Russian-Indian economic cooperation, discussion of problems in relations between the EU and the EEU, and enhancing the role of the BRICS in the international financial system. 

The participants will discuss the development of the nuclear energy and oil and gas sectors and the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt project.

The associate professor of stock markets and financial engineering of RANEPA, Vasiliy Yakimkin, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the main theme of the agenda of the forum will be "life during the sanctions, that is, how to minimize the impact on Russia's economy of the US sanctions and what to do if the sanctions are strengthened."

"The second issue is the dynamics of the Russian economy. The recession is not a great thing, because everyone is interested in catching some positive sign that the recession will end. Although my opinion is that there may be a recession in 2016 too, especially if the price of oil falls, and that could happen if Iran is allowed to enter the international markets," the expert added.

According to him, the forum will also actively discuss the question of what costs need to be cut.

As for the problem of attracting investment, which is traditionally one of the main items on the agenda of the SPIEF, this time the Western sanctions, hindering the development of economic cooperation, will be focused on. "Now the St. Petersburg platform aims not only to attract business from America and Europe, but mainly from Asia and in the search for domestic sources. I think we need to focus on domestic sources. It is necessary to increase domestic demand, to make loans in Russia, and then we will have money," the expert said.