In principle, the ruble free fall would affect Russian purchasing power. However, according to Mr. Pham Quang Niem, Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor to Russia, the difficulties are just temporary and tthere are solutions to the problems. He believes that the picture of Vietnam’s exports to Russia in 2015 will be bright.
Russia is one of Vietnam’s major importers. It has high demand for tropical products which cannot be produced
domestically. The demand has become even higher as Russia has restricted imports from the EU and the US, and begun seeking alternative supply sources, including Vietnam.
Regarding the currencies to be used in two-way trade, the US dollar now is the main currency used in payment, but the two sides have thought of making payment in local currencies.
Russians are optimistic about the status of the ruble, believing that the floating currency, to some extent, would help encourage production and export. The prices of goods in Russia have increased just slightly, while bread has become cheaper.
Nguyen Van Ky, general director of the An Giang Seafood Import-Export Company (AGF), predicted that the ruble crisis would affect Vietnam’s exports, but not seriously. Because as for AGF, catfish exports to East Europe, including Russia, just account for 3.8 percent of its total exports. Therefore, the ruble crisis will not have a major effect on AGF’s business. However, he believes that though Russian consumers have fastened their belts, they would still buy Vietnamese seafood products, because the products are much cheaper than those from other exporters.
According to Dr. Le Dang Doanh, a renowned economist, the ruble depreciation is a major concern. “I wonder if Russian partners can bear such sharp price increases,” he said.