Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde gave a positive assessment of the steps taken by the Russian authorities, including the Central Bank of Russia, to maintain macroeconomic stability, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Stanislav Voznesensky said on Sunday.

“Our president addressed Christine Lagarde with a concrete question concerning Russia’s financial sector. First, he asked what the IMF thinks about actions of the Russian Central Bank and the government to maintain macroeconomic stability. The president cited latest data on the macroeconomic situation,” Voznesensky told journalists after the APEC leaders’ meeting with the IMF managing director.

“Lagarde answered concerning the Central Bank governor that she has done fantastic work,” he noted.

Then, according to Voznesensky, Putin asked for Lagarde’s advice. “The banking system is stable but very passive and is not very contributive to the economic growth as lending to the economy is not very active. He asked what she thinks should be done,” he deputy minister said. “Lagarde evaded an answer, saying only that in each concrete case a country’s specifics are to be reckoned with. No recommendations followed but she said emotionally that in the situation that Russia is facing, first of all on the backdrop of falling oil prices, it has managed to cope with problems and will take the track – she hopes so – of sustainable growth.”

IMF does not rule out growth of protectionism after US election

Lagarde also did not rule out growth of protectionism after the presidential elections in the United States, Voznesensky said:

“The IMF chief noted that expectations of the dollar growth may trigger even bigger growth of protectionism in the United States.”

“As the United States is going to have a problem with the current account, hence, the dollar growth will entail exports decrease and, taking into account the results of the presidential elections, America may become still more aggressive in protectionism than it is now.”

“In formal terms, when protectionism is concerned, the answer is like this: just have a look at customs taxes – they are going down across the globe,” Vozensensky said. “Lagarde said it is not so, but the huge sector of services that is seeing growth in the global economy has so many sophisticated protectionism that it overrides [lowering customs taxes]. It is necessary to be utterly watchful in this sector.”