A few months ago, Russia's economy seemed to be recovering from its problems in the late 1990's. High prices meant oil revenues were increasing, and the currency was strong. Now, the combination of the oil price collapse and the credit crunch has reversed the position. Yesterday, the central bank was forced to raise rates to 12% to slow the rouble's fall.
ICIS news reported this month that some planned petchem investments have already been postponed. Russia is also the world's 2nd largest oil producer. But as the blog noted in May, the easy gains in production have been made. Now, only "the difficult fields" remain to be exploited. Without cash, Russia's oil production will slow even faster, setting up more feedstock problems for the chemical industry in the future.