The coronavirus crisis in Russia has coincided with the collapse of oil prices, the export of which is vital for the country’s economy, which in turn has placed the ruble, the national currency, at its lowest value in recent years. . Russian experts already warn that the state coffers will suffer at a time when it will be necessary to undertake enormous spending to face COVID-19 and, even more, to clean up the economy once the pandemic has subsided.
In early March, Russia vetoed OPEC’s proposed cut to stabilize oil prices, leading to its collapse. Since then, its value has not stopped falling, also taking into account that Saudi Arabia, which in principle agreed to reduce production, increased it and began to sell oil on the international market at a price of balance, which caused unrest in the Kremlin. Moscow advocated leaving production as it was, without cuts, but also without excessive increases.
So President Vladimir Putin, pressed by the economic situation in his country and under pressure from his American counterpart, Donald Trump, has been forced to take action on the matter and, yesterday Friday during a remote meeting with his collaborators, relented and was ready to decrease the production of Russian black gold, just on the eve of the online meeting to be held on Monday by the world oil cartel and its allies, OPEC +. He spoke of a “preliminary” reduction in production of 10 million barrels a day of crude oil to, he said, “balance the market.” The ad shot up prices.
But Putin also said that those who broke the agreement in Vienna on March 6 were not the Russians, but the Saudis, because they wanted, according to him, “to get rid of their competitors,” specifically the US shale companies. These words have caused outrage in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Abdulaziz bin Salman al Saud, has dismissed as “categorically false” Russia’s allegations of Saudi Arabia’s alleged refusal to extend the agreement between OPEC + countries.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus in Russia continues to advance, although in a moderate way. According to the latest data on the evolution of the pandemic, the country as a whole has registered 582 new cases, bringing the total to 4,731 and the death toll to 43. In Moscow, the increase in those infected by COVID-19 has been 434, putting the total in the Russian capital at 3,427 infected, according to a correct calculation although the Moscow City Hall gives the figure of 3,357, and 24 dead.