SPIEF 2017 kicks off in St. Petersburg

SPIEF 2017 kicks off in St. Petersburg

The 21st annual International Economic Forum (SPIEF) kicks off in Russia’s city of St. Petersburg at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Center and will last for three days. This year, the SPIEF is held under the slogan 'Achieving a New Balance in the Global Economic Arena'.

As many as 356 agreements valued at over 1 trillion rubles (approximately $17.6 billion) were signed at the forum in 2016. The key event in 2016 was a panel session titled Capitalizing on the New Global Economic Reality.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants, organisers and guests of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017. The President noted that over these years, the Forum has gained substantial authority as a recognised global discussion platform open for direct and engaged dialogue on the relevant issues.

"For the first time in the last several years, the global economy is showing signs of recovery. The Forum will discuss how to consolidate the emerging trends and assess the risks and challenges related to the introduction of new technologies. The sweeping changes taking place today require effective measures by the international community to enhance the international governance architecture in order to take coordinated steps to ensure that all population groups benefit from the fruits of globalisation and thereby guarantee sustainable and balanced development," the greeting says.

Putin expressed confidence that the initiatives and recommendations the Forum produces will contribute to developing common, consolidated approaches, and the contracts and agreements executed on the Forum’s sidelines will give impetus to international cooperation and help to launch and implement new, mutually advantageous projects.

Head of Russia’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR) and ex-Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin said at the Forum that average oil price this year will be higher than $50 per barrel.

"At $45 per barrel, 1% or 1.5% deficit is normal, then at a price of $55 dollars per barrel we allocate a share to the budget, thus the deficit will reach 0% or 0.5% - almost zero. That is why I think that we are in a zone of reasonable economic values ," TASS cited Kudrin as saying.

"I think it’s more realistic to target 2.5% inflation after 2024," he said, adding that the Central Bank "is rational enough to stick to around 4%" as a number of restrictive factors do not allow to downgrade the inflation target, including oil dependence, tariffs and price formation, low efficiency.

The first SPIEF was held on June 19−21, 1997 in St. Petersburg’s Tauride Palace. Over 1,500 people attended the event, including heads of state and government from the CIS countries and Russian regions, representatives of banks and financial organizations, businesspeople and public figures.