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Country Report Russia August 2017

Country Report Russia August 2017

  • August 2017
  • ID: 1698084
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

Table of Contents

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Outlook for 2017-21



  • The government has proved to be relatively effective at co-opting potential opposition. The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect sluggish economic performance to lead to political upheaval in 2017-21.
  • The decision to impose new US sanctions on Russia in July 2017 has made an improvement in relations unlikely in 2017-18. The outlook for the relationship between the US and Russia in 2019-21 is uncertain.
  • It is highly unlikely that the conflict in eastern Ukraine will be resolved during the 2017-21 forecast period.
  • We expect Western sanctions, as well as Russian counter-sanctions, to remain in place in the medium term.
  • We do not forecast that there will be meaningful economic or political reforms before the presidential election in 2018.
  • In 2016 real GDP fell by 0.2%. We forecast real GDP growth of 1.6% in 2017 and average annual growth of 1.6% in 2018-21.
  • We forecast a budget deficit equal to 2.2% of GDP in 2017-a contraction from 3.4% of GDP in 2016-and average annual deficits of about 1.1% in 2018-21.


Review



  • On July 27th the US Senate voted in favour of new sanctions against Russia. Donald Trump, the US president, subsequently signed the bill, which limits his room for manoeuvre to lift sanctions, into law.
  • On July 28th the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the US would have to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff posted in Russia.
  • On July 4th China's president, Xi Jinping, visited Russia and discussed co-operation in energy, investment and trade with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
  • On June 30th Anton Siluanov, the finance minister, announced that the government had decided to merge the Reserve Fund and the National Welfare Fund into a single stabilisation fund.
  • Macroeconomic data for June showed sustained growth in industrial production, retail sales and construction.
  • In June the purchasing managers' index (PMI) for Russia's manufacturing sector was 50.3, down from 52.4 in May. The services sector reported strong expansion, with a PMI reading of 55.5 (anything above 50 denotes expansion).
  • According to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), Russia's external debt increased slightly in the first half of 2017, to US$529bn.


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