-BRICS is topic of discussion in Russia
The main topic of discussion in Russia last week was the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) summit in Johannesburg.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the summit where the enhancement of trade and economic relations within BRICS was one of the most important topics up for discussion.
At the same time, Putin’s remarks on relations with the U.S. as well as his relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump made headlines.
'Trump wants to continue negotiations. I want this too. I invited him to Moscow. I'm ready to visit Washington. However, the conditions necessary for the work to be done need to occur,” Putin told journalists.
During his visit to Johannesburg, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak also gave the first signal of an important decision concerning the oil markets.
Recalling that the oil supply will increase by one million barrels per day by the end of the year in line with the latest agreement reached with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Novak said, 'We are currently implementing this decision. However, further development in the oil markets and an increase in oil production can be evaluated. We are watching developments in Libya and other countries.'
Regarding the possible sanctions that the U.S. plans to implement against Iran, Novak said, 'I think that oil markets have priced this possibility. I do not think it will have much impact on oil prices.'
-Russian Central Bank keeps interest rates at 7.25%
The Central Bank of Russia kept the interest rate at 7.25 percent as inflation risks persist.
The Russian government announced its intention to increase the VAT rate from 18 percent to 20 percent starting next year in order to alleviate pressure on the budget.
The planned increase in value-added tax (VAT) is expected to affect consumer prices this year and in 2019, while the year-end inflation rate is predicted to be in the range between 3.5 and 4 percent.