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Russia Economy - January 2017

Source: OPEC 2/8/2017, Location: Asia

GDP in Russia contracted by 0.4% y-o-y in 3Q16, the slowest pace since the onset of economic deceleration in 1Q15. Household consumption showed a slower decline of 3.1% y-o-y in 3Q16 compared to 5.2% seen in the previous quarter. Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) also decreased by a notably slower pace, 0.5% y-o-y vs 4.3%. Exports increased nearly 7% y-o-y in 3Q16, from a largely unchanged level of exports in the previous quarter. Imports continued slowing for the 12th consecutive quarter, though at a lesser rate of 3.0% y-o-y, from 6.7% seen in 2Q16.

The downward inflationary trend continued in December posting 5.4%, its slowest rate of increase since June 2012. Following a depreciation of 2.7% in November, the Russian ruble appreciated 3.4% m-o-m in December. At the same time, the benchmark interest rate was kept unchanged at 10.0% by the country’s central bank.

The second successive improvement in Russia’s services sector was reported in December, with Markit’s Russia Services Business Activity Index rising to a 49-month high of 56.5. The three-month average, for the period October–December, is the highest since 1Q13. Despite this sizable expansion, retail sales continued to contract in November, though at a slower pace.

The manufacturing PMI survey reported the fastest employment growth in the manufacturing sector since March 2011 on a higher number of new orders. The sector gained momentum in December. The index posted a 69-month high of 53.7 in December, up from November’s 53.6. In line with marked improvements in the manufacturing sector, industrial production increased by 2.7% y-o-y in November, highlighting the fastest rate of increase in nearly two years.

The robust performance by services and manufacturing at the end of 2016 is expected to positively influence Russia’s GDP growth in 4Q16 and extend into 2017. GDP is now forecast to decelerate by 0.5% y-o-y in 2016 and return to the growth territory of around 0.9% in 2017.

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