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29.02.2016 12:54 Economy Ministry forecasts 1% rise in Ukraine`s GDP in H1 2016

The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine expects the revival of economic activity and the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) by 1% plus or minus 0.5 percentage points in the first half of 2016 after the fall by 10% in 2015 and 6.8% in 2014. "The revival... is due to both statistical effects, namely low base, and economic such as the resumption of work of enterprises in the east of the country, a growth in domestic demand due to the level of wages, the reduction of losses because of a lower load (social security tax) on payroll," the ministry said. Simultaneously the agency points out the continuing risks of falling prices in the key commodity markets of Ukrainian exports and restrictions imposed by the Russian Federation. The ministry said that data for the fourth quarter of 2015 confirm the restoration of the Ukrainian economy: according to tentative assessment of the State Statistics Service, the seasonally adjusted GDP grew by 1.5% compared to the previous quarter, while in the third quarter it grew by 0.5% compared to the second quarter.

28.02.2016 17:39 Bank of Russia Sees GDP Seen Down Almost 1% in First Quarter 2016

Russia`s economy is expected to contract by almost 1% in the first quarter, compared with the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, the central bank said Friday. Hit by a drop in prices for oil, Russia`s key export, as well as Western sanctions, the country`s economy is widely expected to shrink for the second year in a row in 2016. In annual terms, gross domestic product may fall by up to 2.5% in the first quarter, the central bank said. The Bank of Russia said the economic situation has improved somewhat this year. A year-on-year drop in retail sales in January was not as deep as in December, while the unemployment rate was steady. Exports and services are expected to support the economy in the first quarter.

26.02.2016 12:28 IMF: Russian Economy`s Contraction to Slow Down

The contraction of Russia`s economy stemming from low oil prices and Western sanctions will slow down, International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its Global Prospects and Policy Challenges report. "In Russia, the pace of contraction triggered by lower oil prices and sanctions is expected to slow," the report stated. The IMF noted that Russia needs "some spending adjustment" in 2016 to offset the negative effect of low oil prices. The report added that fiscal consolidation should continue over the subsequent medium term. The IMF also advised Moscow to carry out structural reforms to lift economic growth and ensure continued governance. "In Russia, structural reform should focus on enhancing governance and property right protection, lowering administrative barriers and regulation, increasing competition in domestic markets, and reinvigorating the privatization agenda as soon as market conditions permit," the report said.

25.02.2016 22:49 Russia`s national rating agency projects 1.7% GDP contraction for 2016

Analysts at Russia`s Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA) project 1.7% GDP contraction for 2016, its Chief Executive Officer Ekaterina Trofimova said. "Short-term macroeconomic forecasts are still conflicting. According to ACRA analysts, amid current macroeconomic and geopolitical trends we expect GDP to contract by around 1.7% in 2016," she said. Russia`s budget for 2016 is based on $50 per barrel price for Urals crude oil, with budget revenues totaling 17.5% of GDP (13.738 trillion rubles, or $178.5 bln), expenditures at 20.5% of GDP (16 trillion rubles, or around $209 bln) and budget deficit at 3% of GDP (2.36 trillion rubles or $30.6 bln). The Finance Ministry officially projects 0.7% GDP growth for this year.

24.02.2016 11:20 Russian government considers changing country`s economy model

The Russian government is considering the possibility to change the country`s economy model within its economic support plan, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in an interview aired by the Rossiya-24 TV news channel on Saturday. "We`re reviewing our [economic] model within preparation of the anti-crisis plan," he said. "The policy, plans, management system should be reviewed so that they might be aimed at a different development model, not directly tied with commodities revenues. We should focus on tapping new niches on the global market using new technologies. The ruble`s low exchange rate favors it," he said. The price for Brent crude oil has fallen by 13% year-to-date, and by 70% since the highs of 2014. On February 18, the Russian government once again postponed development of the plan of economic support for 2016, with items requiring additional budget financing being discussed most of all. The measures to prop up Russian economy are worth a total of 880 bln rubles ($11.3 bln). Unlike the anti-crisis plan developed by the government in 2015 the plan of economic support mainly implies long-term efforts to drive economic growth instead of putting up capital in banks and enterprises. The necessity to form the plan was urged by Russia`s economic recession due to plunging oil prices.

20.02.2016 12:12 Russians tighten their belts for a great cause

This week, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to freeze oil production at current levels in an attempt to halt the collapse in oil prices, which have pulled the Russian economy down with them. But the announcement did not give oil prices the bump that the Kremlin hoped for: the freeze is contingent on Iran and Iraq doing the same, which the former, fresh out of its sanctions prison, has very little incentive to do. And without oil prices rising, and doing so dramatically, there will be no end to Russia`s economic crisis. As oil prices more than quadrupled in the first decade of Vladimir Putin`s rule, his spending ticked up along with it, although there was no investment in the kind of structural changes that could have assured Russia`s long-term economic health and resilience. By August 2012, when the federal budget was pegged to oil at $100 a barrel, the ministry of economic development calculated that the country would be in crisis should oil fall to $80 per barrel. Today, that price would be the answer to Mr Putin`s prayers. So what happens now to the lavish social spending that the Kremlin has overpromised on? And what about the expensive military gambit in Syria?

19.02.2016 16:31 1C-start: the economic crisis in Russia is a reason to start a business

Recent news of the economy similar to reports from the war zone. Russia`s GDP fell by 3.7% in 2015; industrial production fell by 3.4%. Investment and retail sales hit even harder - a drop compared to the previous year was 8.4% and 10.0%, respectively. Real incomes have fallen to 10.0%. However, experts say that now is the time to start a business, despite the worsening economic conditions. In particular, this opinion is shared by experts of the company 1C-Start, which is well known for its online service registration documents for the state registration of LLC and SP. Recently, on its portal, the company published a series of e-book "Start Your Business".

17.02.2016 21:50 Russian trade hit by sanctions and commodity crisis

Russia`s trade with the EU`s eastern states fell by almost a third in 2015, as sanctions over Crimea and the economic impact of plummeting commodity prices further unravel the fraying links between Moscow and its former Soviet bloc allies. Exports to Russia from the six countries for which full data are available were worth И5.9bn less in 2015 than 2014. Sales of goods from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria declined an average of 30 per cent last year, with similar falls in the first 11 months of the year in Slovakia and Hungary. Russia banned the import of European food products in response to sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The downturn in trade has been exacerbated by a recession in Russia, as well as falling oil prices which have reduced the value of its energy exports.

15.02.2016 11:16 Misery and luxury go hand in hand in Russia

We all know Russians have dark and tortured souls - just look at their literature - but another scale of unhappiness called the `misery index` relates levels of inflation and unemployment to the amount of social and economic pain those indicators inflict. At the moment, according to Bloomberg, Russia is the fourth most miserable country in the world, surpassed only by Turkey (3), Argentina (2) and in the unfortunate position of first place, Egypt. The index shows Russia has the second-highest inflation rate at 13 percent, one point behind Argentina, and an unemployment rate of 6 percent. Government statistics say real wages have dropped by about 9 percent. And grumbles are growing. Protesters in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don took to the streets last weekend using humor to get their point across. In a parody of the support shown to those killed at Charlie Hebdo they carried signs saying "Je suis Ruble." Others read "Indecent behavior by the ruble: How low you have fallen!" and "Get up, it`s time to catch up with Africa." Perhaps the most poignant read "The ruble hasn`t fallen, only slipped. On a piece of salo" - a type of cheap salty cured pork fat which might now almost be considered a delicacy as buying power diminishes.

13.02.2016 18:24 Four key problems for Russia`s economy to overcome

Debate about the need for structural reforms has intensified in Russia. But what should they be directed at? At the Foreigners Life conference in Moscow from Feb. 5-7, leading Russian economists identified four main problems with the Russian economy. 1. The population is becoming impoverished faster than before. Compared to the recent crises in the Russian economy, the population is getting poorer much faster this time. By year-end 2015, the amount of goods purchased by Russians had decreased by 10 percent. Even during the most serious crisis in modern history of the country Ц in 1998 Ц this figure (final consumption of households) fell by only 5 percent, and by 4 percent after the global financial crisis in 2009. There is also another reason why the population is running out of money. Businesses are deliberately reducing wages in order to increase their own profits. In 2015, nominal wages grew by 4.6 percent, while company profits increased by an average of 49 percent. One of the reasons for this is the lack of effective trade unions to defend the rights of workers in Russia.


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