The central bank of Russia reduced its interest rate by 1% to 14% on Friday, a sign that its country’s economic problem is worsening. The country’s economic misery was primarily caused by Western sanctions and the decline of oil prices. The Russian ruble plummeted 40% against the U.S. dollar in just six months.

Bank of Russia Ponomaryov

Russia’s central bank predicts between 3.5% and 4% economic decline

The Russian central bank also issued a bleaker outlook regarding the country’s economy. The central bank estimated that Russia’s economy will decline between 3.5% and 4% this year. It is worse than the 3% contraction estimated in January.

Despite Russia’s worsening economic condition, Jim Rogers, a veteran financier and chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests is optimistic on Russian equities citing the reason the oil prices already reached the bottom.

During a conference in Moscow, Rogers said, “I’m very optimistic about the future of Russia. Certainly one of the most attractive stock markets in the world these days for me is Russia.”

Now is probably the right time to invest in Russia

The dollar-denominated RTS index of stock in Russia declined 45% last year due to the declining oil prices and sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies.

Rogers said Russia is probably the “right place” and now is the “right time” for investors to invest in the country. The RTS index gained 20% since the beginning of this year. He is optimistic that Russia’s stock market will climb further.

According to Rogers, his portfolio is largely composed of Russian stocks including Phosagaro, a fertilizer company and Aeroflot, an airline company. He also invested in the Moscow Exchange.

According to Rogers, the Russian government reformed some of its old ways, which changed his perception of the country. He emphasized that his optimism about Russia’s stock market is based on his conviction that the international oil prices already hit the lowest level.

“Something has happened over in the Kremlin. The old ways of doing things in Russia have changed in my view, said Rogers. He also recommended acquiring Russia’s short-term Treasury bills.

It is not the first time Rogers expressed his bullish conviction about Russia. In November last year, Rogers said it was the first time for him to be bullish in Russia in 46 years. At the time, he said, “Everybody hates Russia, but I like to find something that is hated.” He explained that Kremlin changed its attitude on foreign investors.