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Russia’s Central Bank chief expects GDP growth to reach 1.8% in 2017

Russia’s economic growth rates are close to potential, the bank's chief says

MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. Russia’s economic growth rates are close to potential, Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiullina said Thursday, adding that this year’s GDP growth is expected to reach 1.8%.

"The economy is rising, though growth rates are not very high so far. According to our estimations, current (growth) rates are close to potential," she said, adding that "2017 annual GDP growth rates will reach 1.8%."

The Bank of Russia projected a 1.7-2.2% GDP growth for 2017 in end-October. According to the regulator, it will be possible to reach annual growth above 1.5-2% further on in case of structural reforms.

Lending to the Russian economy will continue growing in recent years by 7-10% per year, she went on. 

"According to our estimates, lending will continue growing in coming years, by 7-10% annually. Such lending growth rates are above GDP growth rates and will support economic growth," Nabiullina said.

The Central Bank estimated that lending growth is 4.7% year-to-date, she said. "Retail lending is recovering quicker - it is already above 9%. Lending to nonfinancial entities is recovering slightly lower," the governor added.

Inflation in Russia amounted to 2.6% in annual terms as of November 15, 2017, she said. 

"According to the latest estimations, as of yesterday, inflation stands at 2.6% in annual terms," she said, adding that "both fundamental and temporary factors (stronger ruble and record harvest) influenced this slowdown in inflation."

The regulator expects inflation to reach 2.5-2.7% by the end of 2017.