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Russia Economy Shrank 3.8 Percent in 2015

  • The data for December is not yet in, but that is the expectation in Moscow
  • January - November the economy shrank 3.7 percent and continued to shrink by 4 percent year-on-year in November
MORE: Business

Originally appeared at The BRICS Post

Continuing to feel the pinch of low oil prices, Russia’s economy contracted in November after a slight seasonally adjusted expansion the preceding month, the Economy Ministry in Moscow said on Tuesday.

During the January-to-November period, the economy contracted 3.7 per cent, the ministry said; year on year, it contracted four per cent in November alone.

Both the government and the International Monetary Fund expect GDP contraction for 2015 to be at 3.8 per cent. Russian officials had previously said the economy had turned the corner and come out of recession.

Inflation resulting from EU and US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis – and low oil prices – has soared in the past year leading to a drop in retail sales and domestic consumer spending.

Russia has been hard-hit by the lowest oil prices since 2004. In the past 20 months, oil prices have plummeted by nearly 60 per cent.

Just a few years ago, Russia – and other emerging oil-producing economies – were languishing in strong economic growth and robust GDP growth when oil was trading at over $110 a barrel.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged economists and business decision-makers to seize the opportunity provided by low oil prices to reform the economy at home.

In early December, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukae called for the development of “non-oil exports” to offset the drastic drop in global energy prices.

“Unfortunately, we have entered a rather long period, when commodity prices are not as high as over the last 10-15 years. This also applies to oil and gas, and metals,” he told reporters in remarks published by the Russian Tass news agency.

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