Russia should stop ‘praying’ for higher oil prices – Rusal CEO

Oleg Deripaska, Rusal Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board © Alexey Danichev
Don't wait for crude prices to go up and use the weak ruble as a tool to boost Russian exports, suggests Rusal (Russian Aluminum) CEO Oleg Deripaska.

"In my opinion, we shouldn’t pray, or expect something from these quotes. We could see oil at $18 per barrel - and we won’t die, we could see a hundred rubles per dollar exchange rate, and also won’t die. We need to move on, understanding that all this can happen, and build a new economy, not forgetting what was done in the old one," said Deripaska on Friday, speaking at an economic forum in Krasnoyarsk.

Deripaska added he doesn’t believe in import substitution, calling it a 19th century model. Russia should instead refocus on exports, the businessman added.

"The key, of course, is processing raw materials - oil, gas, chemical products, metal ore - what’s buried just under our feet. We can literally achieve growth in the next quarter here,” he said.

"We should not move away from Europe. But at the same time we need to rely on China, Asian demand, involve them as partners, create the conditions," Deripaska added.

According to the aluminum magnate, the country should not be afraid of a federal budget deficit of 10 percent of GDP, if it wants to return to economic growth. In the next three years, Russia could turn to the debt market and then effectively allocate the fiscal burden, he said.

Deripaska also suggests Russia should create six or eight new state banks, the way China did, as Sberbank and VTB are not enough for such a big country.