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Russia Monthly Economic Developments

The global economy continues to weaken, reflecting a broad-based slowdown in activity. In June, global industrial production slowed to 0.6 percent (y/y), its slowest pace since the global financial crisis, and the contracting global manufacturing PMI points to continued weakness. Oil prices spiked following the September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure facilities. After two volatile sessions, oil prices returned to pre-attack levels following Saudi Arabia’s announcement that half of its capacity had been restored by September 17th and the remaining would be restored by the end of the month. By September 20th, supported by higher oil prices, the ruble appreciated against the U.S. dollar by about 4 percent as compared to the end of August. A lower trade balance surplus narrowed Russia’s current account surplus to $54.4 billion in January - August 2019, down from $64.2 billion in the same period last year. Industrial production growth accelerated in August (+0.6 percent, m/m, sa), supported mainly by mineral resource extraction. Consumer demand indicators remained soft in August. Labor market dynamics were mixed in July. Consumer inflation continued its downward trend amidst weak consumer demand, reaching 4.3 percent, y/y. On September 6, 2019, the Bank of Russia decided to cut the key rate by 25 bp to 7 percent in annual terms. In the first eight months of 2019, the federal budget surplus improved to 3.7 percent of GDP (cash basis), up from 3.2 percent of GDP in the same period last year. In July, moderate lending growth was observed in the corporate sector while retail loans continued to grow in double digits, albeit at a marginally slower pace. Key credit risk and performance indicators remained largely stable. The CBR continues to remove insolvent banks, albeit at a slower pace, indicating that the sector cleanup has largely been accomplished.


Apurva Sanghi

Lead Economist for the Russian Federation

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