Russia Monthly Economic Developments

Global activity likely continued to slow in 19Q3, with weaker growth (y/y) reported so far in several major economies, including the United States and China. Oil prices fell 4.6 percent in October (m/m), reaching their lowest level since January 2019. Despite lower oil prices, the ruble continued strengthening and gained 1 percent with respect to the US dollar, amidst softer global conditions conducive to emerging market currencies. Russia’s current account surplus narrowed to US$65.1 billion in January-October 2019, compared to US$88.6 billion in the same period in the previous year, largely due to a lower trade balance. Supported by manufacturing, industrial production output growth strengthened in October (+0.3 percent, m/m, sa), despite weaker oil production. Agricultural production growth was robust. Construction growth continued to strengthen, pointing to somewhat stronger investment demand. Retail domestic sales growth accelerated to 1.6 percent, y/y, likely supported by lower inflation and acceleration of National Projects. Labor market dynamics were negative in September 2019. Consumer price inflation continued its downward trend in October and dropped below the CBR target of 4 percent in annual terms. In the first ten months of 2019, the federal budget surplus dropped to 3.5 percent of GDP (cash basis) from 3.7 percent of GDP in the same period last year on the back of lower oil and gas revenues and higher non- interest spending. Federal budget spending accelerated in October supported largely by accelerated spending on National Projects. In September, both retail and corporate sector lending growth continued to slow down. Key credit risk and performance indicators remained stable in September.


Apurva Sanghi

Lead Economist for the Russian Federation

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