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15.08.2019 15:32 Russia records slightly improved but still weak GDP growth of 0.9% in 2Q19

Russia recorded slightly stronger GDP growth of 0.9% in the second quarter of this year, up from the soggy 0.5% the economy grew by in the first quarter, Rosstat reported on August 12. The result was anticipated by analysts, who pointed out that the economy`s core sectors were doing better than expected over the summer, and the final result has come in at the top of the predicted range. Forecasts for Russia`s growth this year have been downgraded multiple times. The Ministry of Economy was predicting 2% growth for this year after Russia put in a surprise 2.8% growth in 2018, but Minister of Economy Maxim Oreshkin quickly backed off in face of widespread disbelief and revised the ministry`s estimate back to 1.2%. Russia will probably struggle to cross even that low bar. The slightly better-than-expected 0.9% y/y rise in Russian GDP in Q2, up from 0.5% y/y in Q1, is likely to be followed by a further improvement in the second half of the year. But growth is still likely to be weaker than most expect and this will give the green light to the central bank to cut rates further, Capital Economics said in a note following the release of the results.

06.08.2019 14:39 The Global Economy Lives in Wonderland Now

There was a period not so long ago when it looked as though the world`s central banks were on course to normalize. We were nearing a significant milestone on the long road back from 2008, when, in response to the implosion of the global financial system, central banks around the world had adopted a suite of unconventional policy measures. They had dropped interest rates to zero. Under the sign of quantitative easing, they purchased mountains of bonds. Janet Yellen, then-chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, ended its quantitative easing program in October 2014. By that point, America`s central bank had piled up $4.5 trillion in assets. Since then, the balance sheet has been run down, and interest rates have nudged up. The European Central Bank (ECB) didn`t get into the quantitative easing game until March 2015, but it ended its purchases in December 2018. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan never eased up. But it was the exception that proved the rule. The consensus nine months ago was that, with the world economy picking up steam, it was time to tighten monetary policy. That would allow financial markets to recover something like their normal balance. And it would give central bankers some room for maneuver in the event of an eventual downturn.

28.07.2019 22:18 Russian central bank slashes key interest rate, predicts more cuts

The Russian central bank (CB) trimmed its key interest rate to 7.25%, as expected, and said more cuts were likely later this year amid slowing inflation. Russia needs lower rates as cheaper lending could rekindle its now sluggish economic growth. As inflation is now slowing towards the 4% target and hovers well below double-digit readings seen a few years ago, the central bank has room to reduce rates further. Friday`s cut became the second this year and was in line with market expectations. Twenty-three analysts and economists who took part in a Reuters poll unanimously predicted that the central bank would trim the rate to 7.25% from 7.50% at Friday`s meeting. If the situation develops in line with the baseline forecast, the Bank of Russia admits the possibility of further key rate reduction at one of the upcoming Board of Directors` meetings, the central bank said in a statement. The latest move puts the rate back at a level where it was before a hike in September last year, something the central bank said was possible due to abating inflationary pressure. That, it said, should help it hit its inflation target of 4% in early 2020. Consumer inflation slowed to 4.6% as of July 22. Weak economic activity, along with temporary factors, limits inflation risks over the short-term horizon, the central bank said.

18.07.2019 14:55 IMF Downgrades Russia`s 2019 GDP Growth Forecast To 1.2%

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a press release on Wednesday that it downgraded its forecast for Russia`s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2019 to 1.2 percent, raising the forecast for 2020 to 1.9 percent. In January, the IMF downgraded its forecasts for the growth of the Russian economy in 2019 and 2020 by 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively, to 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent respectively. The head of the IMF mission in Russia, James Roaf, said in May that the fund would present a new forecast within a month or two. "Growth is projected at 1.2 percent in 2019, reflecting a weak first quarter estimate, lower oil prices and the impact of the higher VAT [value-added tax] rate on private consumption. At the same time, GDP growth should be supported by an increase in public sector spending in the context of the national projects announced in 2018. Inflation has begun to fall and is expected to return to the 4 percent target by early 2020," the IMF said. According to a table attached to the press release, the IMF expects Russia`s GDP growth in 2020 to reach 1.9 percent.

14.07.2019 15:07 Russian inflation could come in below 4% in 2019

The chief economist of Russian state-owned retail bank Sberbank Anton Stroutchenevski says that inflation could end this year at below 4%. If it does that would be well below the consensus. Inflation fell to a historic low of 2.3% last year, but by the end of the year it had ticked up to around 5% and was spurred on by a 2pp hike to VAT rates in January. However, economists were surprised how fast those inflationary pressures receded and now they are surprised that inflation has continued to fall faster than expected. The inflation question is important as lower than expected inflation will allow the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) to cut rates more aggressively. After the first quarter Russian growth came in at 0.5% -- well belwo consensus cuts are needed and some analysts speculate that the CBR resume cutting rates at the upcoming meeting in July.

07.07.2019 17:21 Russian GDP growth to pick up, modestly

The scheduled pick-up in state-sponsored investments leaves hopes for a recovery in Russian GDP growth following the disappointing 0.5% y/y in 1Q19. However, the weakness in exports and consumption, which have little fundamental support now, suggests that the recovery, at least in 2019, will be quite modest. The recently released structure of the 1Q19 GDP growth by usage supports our earlier take that at least part of the deceleration of the GDP growth from 2.3% in 2018 (including 2.7% y/y in 4Q18) to the disappointing 0.5% y/y in 1Q19 was due to temporary factors, mainly related to the budget spending.

30.06.2019 17:29 US economy remains on solid footing

The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, the government said in its third and final reading on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period. The figure confirms that the economy, which has been facing headwinds from the trade war with China, got off to a solid start this year, the Efe news reported. The Commerce Department report showed that the economy grew during the January-March period in line with economists` forecasts and at a rate well above the 2.2 per cent growth registered in the fourth quarter of 2018. In the first quarter, the economy grew at the highest rate for a January-March period in four years, confirming that the world`s largest economy continues to enjoy prosperous times after ending 2018 with GDP growth of 2.9 per cent, the highest rate since 2015.

19.06.2019 21:43 Fitch downgrades Russia`s GDP growth to 1.2% for 2019

Fitch Ratings downgraded Russia`s GDP growth forecast for 2019 from 1.5% to 1.2%, following an unexpectedly weak economic performance in the first quarter. The agency still believes GDP growth will accelerate to 1.9% in 2020 and 2021, after the government`s RUB27 trillion spending programme on infrastructure and the social sphere kicks in, coupled with slowing inflation and the waning effect of the VAT hike that is expected to push drive consumption. As analysed by bne IntelliNews, the Russian economy is stagnating in the beginning of 2019 and Russian President Vladimir Putin`s plan to revitalise it with the 12 national projects is off to a very slow start. Previously in June the World Bank (WB) also cut its 2019 GDP growth outlook for Russia from 1.5% to 1.2% in the latest Global Economic Prospects report. This makes the second time Russia`s GDP growth forecast for 2019 was cut by the bank.

08.06.2019 15:08 Russia kicks off economic forum, but its wealth is on shaky ground

Russia began its annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday, an event at which it will try to boost its appeal to international businesses and investors. Russia has been hit by five years of international sanctions on its economy following its annexation of Crimea and role in pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine. It is also not immune to the effects of the U.S.′ trade war with China which is putting the brakes on global growth. Frederic Oudea, president of the European Banking Federation and CEO of Societe Generale, told a Russian economy panel at SPIEF Thursday that while the country`s finances were not faring too badly given the global environment, sanctions remained a hurdle. In this world of uncertainty I think Russia has done pretty well in the last few quarters. Of course, the international sanctions remain an obstacle, a handicap to create more positive momentum and more structural confidence, he said. A stalling in Russia`s economy is borne out in the latest growth data that revealed the economy had slowed in the first quarter of 2019 to its weakest level since late 2017. In May, Russia`s Economy Ministry had already warned of lower growth in 2019, forecasting 1.3% this year. Meanwhile the Central Bank of Russia expects GDP to grow by 1.2 - 1.7% this year with both domestic and external factors hampering growth.

30.05.2019 22:23 First-quarter economic growth up 3.1%, slightly better than Wall Street expected

The U.S. economy grew by 3.1% to start the year, slightly better than expected and providing some relief at a time when recession fears are accelerating, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. First-quarter gross domestic product beat the 3% Dow Jones estimate but was lower than the initial 3.2% projection from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The decrease came due to downward revisions to nonresidential fixed and private inventory investment, two key drivers to GDP. The new numbers, which represent the second reading, also reflect upward revisions to exports and personal consumption expenditures. Corporate profits also weakened, falling 2.8% across all companies and 0.5% in the S&P 500. Inflation indicators also were weaker than expected, with core personal consumption expenditures up just 1.03%


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