Sberbank CEO Warns Russians on Impending New Crisis, “Commodity Shock”

Sberbank CEO Herman Gref said at the Moscow Financial Forum on Friday that Russia may face a “commodity shock” associated with a fall in energy prices, and warned that the country is not ready for new crises, because all the time it is “preparing for yesterday,” RIA Novosti reported.

“The commodities shock, in my opinion, is ahead of us. Under the name ‘reduction in oil consumption in the world,’ it is in fact a virtually uncontrolled increase in oil supply in the world,” Gref said.

The head of Sberbank urged now to start preparing for new risks.

“If we want to be ready to solve today’s problems and meet tomorrow’s problems, we must immediately begin to work effectively … In my opinion … we have a unique moment to begin this work,” he explained.

The Russian economy’s primary hurdle is the lack of a business plan for economic growth, the Sberbank CEO added.

“Now the key problem is that we don’t have a business model of the country’s economic growth. This morning, I specifically watched yesterday’s panel and, in my opinion, the discussion that took place here, clearly showed that we do not have a consensus about what needs to be done. Moreover, if there is no consensus on what needs to be done, then the question of how [things should be done] is not at all on the agenda,” Gref said.

The Russian Finance minister Anton Siluanov, in turn, disagreed with Gref, and said that the government has clear goals and objectives.

“There are goals, there are resources, and people who will fulfill these goals also exist. There wasn’t all that before!” Siluanov said. In response, Gref objected: “There are wheels, there is a steering wheel, everything is there, but it does not go anywhere.”