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Cash Dash: $1 billion flees Russian markets in Q1

Cash Dash: $1 billion flees Russian markets in Q1
Over $1.1 billion has been pulled from Russia by emerging market equity managers since the beginning of 2013, in favor of US and Japanese markets.

In the last week, over $393 million, or 3% of assets under management, fled Russian markets. This is one of the top four biggest outflows since the 2008-2009 crisis, and the largest since 2011, according to Renaissance Capital analysts.

Vyacheslav Smolyaninov, chief strategist at Uralsib Capital, told Vedomosti such a withdrawal has only occurred three times since the crisis.

On Thursday the Ministry of Economic Development lowered its forecast of Russia’s GDP growth in 2013 to 2.4%, down from 3.6%. Crude oil, which together with natural gas, yields half of Russia’s revenue, has taken a continuous price beating, and has almost hit $92/barrel on the Asian markets.

Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned and world’s largest extractor of natural gas, serves as an excellent microcosm to the capital outflow. In the first financial quarter, the stock fell 6.7%, and early in the second quarter the capital fell below $100 billion for the first time since 2009.

The weakening rouble may be a contributing factor to the cash dash from Russia. The rouble hasn’t seen significant gains since September, when it was 32.58 against the dollar, and now, currency traders are joyful if it crosses the 31.5 threshold.

EPFR, an agency which tracks fund flows worldwide, posted similar transaction data, documenting the flee from Russian and other BRIC markets. India, a close second to Russia, lost about $951 million in Q1 to other markets.

The report also shows investors prefer the economic pastures of Mexico ($540 million inflow), Indonesia ($163 million), and the Philippines ($129 million).

“The case for rouble strength has weakened,” James Lord, an emerging-markets strategist at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note to clients, published by Bloomberg.