Global growth continued to be solid in the fourth quarter of 2017, well above the estimated potential growth. Incoming data suggests robust growth is maintained in 2018.
Growth in China slowed in the fourth quarter and high frequency data suggests continued moderation in the first quarter of 2018.
Oil prices, which fell in the first half of February stabilized later in the month. The decline--which ended seven months of gains--reflects a modest recovery in oil inventories and further rises in U.S. oil production.
Favorable external environment supported the current account in the first two months of 2018: export increase more than compensated for growing imports.
Despite a drop in oil prices, in February 2018, the ruble stayed flat with respect to the US dollar.
In January 2018, industrial production growth accelerated helped by robust growth in manufacturing. In February 2018, consumer inflation remained unchanged.
Labor market indicators were relatively stable in January. In January 2018, the federal budget primary surplus strengthened, as drop in expenditures overcompensated for a decrease in revenues.
The Central Bank continued its efforts to clean up the banking system, cutting the number of banks that are non-compliant with regulations and that conduct risky operations.
On March 16, despite escalating geopolitical tensions, Russia placed US$4 billion of Eurobonds.
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