Alexei Kudrin, finance minister of the Russian Federation, and Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel, were today recognised for their successes in managing their respective economies through the aftermath of the global financial crisis by Euromoney, the world’s leading magazine for banking and finance.
At a reception held at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, Padraic Fallon, chairman of Euromoney, presented Kudrin with the award for Finance minister of the year 2010 and gave Fischer the award for Central bank governor of the year 2010.
The reception took place during the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Euromoney has been honouring the worlds best central bank governors and finance ministers during the annual meetings for more than 30 years.
Euromoney commended Governor Fischer for striking the ideal balance between moderating inflation and supporting economic recovery.
Israels resilience during the financial crisis and its aftermath proves that Stanley Fischer is worthy of the respect that he commands at the top of the financial community, the magazine said. His bold move to raise interest rates in September 2009 the first country to do so after the crisis proved well guided and prescient. Further rises have also been well timed, allowing the economy to grow at a healthy rate of 4.7% in the second quarter of 2010 while keeping inflation in check at around 1.8%. His innovative move towards an interventionist exchange rate policy, whilst controversial at the time, has bolstered Israels reserves while boosting the countrys exports, which are key to its economic performance. Despite Israels political and regional difficulties, Fischers policies contributed to Israels admission to the OECD in May this year.
Fischer joins a prestigious group of winners of Euromoneys Central bank governor award, which in recent years has included Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank, Henrique Meirelles of Brazil and Guillermo Ortiz of Mexico.
Euromoney praised Minister Kudrin for his policy of reserving the windfall that Russia had made from its oil boom in the form of a stabilization fund, for which he had to withstand huge political pressure, which in turn were crucial in the countrys ability to emerge from the global financial crisis in a much better shape than most had expected.
Kudrin is rightly hailed as a fiscal manager of the highest order. Not just in the west, where his championing of the free market and fiscal prudence long made him a favourite of foreign investors, but also in Russia, a country which has not always taken kindly to reformers, the magazine said. Entering the financial crisis with nearly $600 billion in foreign reserves allowed Russia to manage a 30% decline in the rouble. The stabilization fund also enabled Russia to pay off its foreign debt early. Kudrin is also rightly praised for his commitment to tax and budget reform, Russias desire to join the World Trade Organization, and continuing the progress in privatization.
Recent winners of Euromoneys Finance minister of the year award have included Xie Xuren of China, Mulyani Indrawati of Indonesia and Jim Flaherty of Canada.
Fischer and Kudrin received their awards following a lengthy process of deliberation by Euromoneys editorial committee, chaired by the editor Clive Horwood. A number of candidates were placed on an undisclosed shortlist for each category. Euromoney considered ministers and governors whose key decisions had directly benefited both the performance and perception of their countrys economic and financial achievements over the previous 12 months. It also took soundings from many leading global bankers and investors.
Full-length interviews with both Kudrin and Fischer are available online now: