Russian Economy Contracted 23% in First Quarter

Russia’s economic output plummeted 23 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months as industrial production plunged and the government’s 3 trillion- ruble ($93.5 billion) stimulus package failed to boost lending., Bloomberg 5/15/2009 10:34:17 AM

Gross domestic product declined an annual 9.5 percent in the period, the Federal Statistics Service said on its Web site today, citing preliminary data. It was the biggest year-on-year slump since the first three months of 1995, according to Bloomberg data.

Russia’s economy has tumbled into its first recession in a decade as the price of oil, its main source of export revenue, fell from a July record and industrial production contracted for five consecutive months. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s fiscal stimulus has so far failed to prop up growth with investment in the first three months declining 15 percent.

President Dmitry Medvedev has criticized the work of the government regularly this week, while Putin was on a trip to the country’s Far East, Japan and Mongolia. A $9 billion slate of guarantees aimed at kick-starting lending to the companies designated as strategic enterprises had failed,” Medvedev said on May 13.

Today, Medvedev poured cold water on the government’s bid to diversify the economy away from a dependence on exporting oil, gas and metals. The average price of Urals crude oil in the first quarter of the year is 111 percent lower than in the year before period at $44.08 per barrel.

The economy grew 8.7 percent in the first three months of last year, the second-highest rate since the third quarter of 2000.

Russian Economy Contracted 23% in First Quarter