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Russian economy began this year with a sharp slowdown

February 27, 2013, 10:58 UTC+3

Klepach acknowledged that preliminary expectations from the statistical reports for January were more optimistic

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Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrei Klepach stated that the negative dynamics of the GDP growth was fixed last January for the first time in the last 13 months. Meanwhile, it was reported that the World Bank reduced the GDP growth forecast in Russia in 2013 from 3.6%, which the bank forecast last October, to 3.3%.

Klepach acknowledged that preliminary expectations from the statistical reports for January were more optimistic, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. The reasons for the downward tendency became low indicators in the production industries among other reasons. The January forecast of the Ministry of Economic Development coincided with the reports of the Russian State Statistical Service in this case – 1.5% down. Only the production of plastic and rubber products turned out to be in the surplus. “The retail trade is on the decline with 1.5% down from January to December,” Klepach said with regret. However, this also happened before, but the reduction is stronger now.

In the view of Andrei Klepach, the government almost does not have any instruments to influence the situation, the Novye Izvestia daily noted. The experts believe that “the second wave” of the economic crisis is already coming. “We expected a slower growth, but this is worse than a target that we expected,” the deputy minister stated. “The risks of a declining growth are even stronger that we warned about before,” Klepach said. In the view of the officials of the economic ministry, the Russians should get ready for a long stagnation in the best case.

Judging by the results, which the Ministry of Economic Development voiced, it cannot be ruled out that a crisis came to Russia, the analysts believe. “The enterprises already began to cut the jobs, the production industries are slowing down,” economist Valery Mironov said. “If “the second wave” of the crisis sets in, what can be confidently said about already within next two months, the crisis will affect in the strongest way the processing industry, carmaking, the production of home appliances, because the growth of salaries will slow down and people will begin to save money. The construction industry will decelerate, and the market of building materials will be on the decline,” he said. Meanwhile, the decline will not be so sharp in the raw material industries thanks to high prices on hydrocarbons.

The World Bank forecasts a slower economic growth in Russia, the RBC daily reported. The World Bank substantiated its position with several factors. First of all, this is a possible reduction of the average oil price. In the forecasts of the World Bank experts, the price of one barrel of oil may fall from 105.8 to 102 dollars this year. One more factor of risk is an unfavourable foreign economic climate. In particular, this is an unequivocal economic situation in the euro zone and the February forecasts of the European Commission, under which the European economy will begin growing only in 2014. One more reason, for which the World Bank decreased its forecast, is a low economic activity in Russia that was reported at the end of 2012. Meanwhile, the consumption growth and the growth of investments may slow down. The World Bank expects that the previous amounts of investments will have restored only by the middle of 2013.

The hopes did not come true that Russia’s accession in the World Trade Organization (WTO) will help the economy, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily noted. No special effect was achieved from Russia’s entry in the WTO, director of the strategic analysis department of the company FBK Igor Nikolayev noted. “First, too little time passed, and 33% of customs tariffs, which were brought down on the day of Russia’s accession, it is just the comeback to the pre-crisis level,” he explained. “On the other hand, the Russian authorities have intensified the efforts to counteract to the WTO, taking appropriate measures of support for domestic producers in the carmaking, textile and food industries and others,” he underlined.

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