Wednesday January 17 2018
Russian Trade Surplus Widens 28.4% in November
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's trade surplus widened by 28.4 percent to USD 11.52 billion in November 2017 from USD 8.97 billion in the same month a year earlier, above market expectations of an USD 11 billion surplus.

Exports increased 25.2 percent to USD 33.24 billion from USD 26.55 billion in November 2016, as exports to non-CIS countries advanced 25 percent to USD 28.46 billion while those to CIS countries went up 25.8 percent to USD 4.78 billion. 

Imports went up at a slower 23.5 percent to USD 21.72 billion from USD 17.59 billion a year earlier. Imports from non-CIS countries climbed 23.6 percent to USD 19.41 billion and those from CIS countries advanced 22.8 percent to USD 2.31 billion. 

The trade surplus with non-CIS countries grew 28.3 percent to USD 9.05 billion from USD 7.05 billion a year ago; and with CIS countries it widened 28.8 percent to USD 2.47 billion from USD 1.92 billion.

In January to November, the trade surplus widened sharply to USD 101.63 billion from USD 78.50 billion in the same period of 2016.




Wednesday January 10 2018
Russia December Inflation Rate Confirmed at Record Low
Federal State Statistics Service | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's consumer price inflation came in at 2.5 percent year-on-year in December 2017, unchanged from the preliminary estimate and the same as in the previous month. The figure stood at its lowest level since the series began in 1991, well below the central bank's target of 4 percent.

Upward pressure came from: food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.7 percent from 0.6 percent in November); housing and utilities (4.4 percent from 4.3 percent); and transport (4.7 percent from 4.3 percent). Meanwhile, inflation slowed for: miscellaneous goods and services (2 percent from 2.3 percent in November); clothing and footwear (3.2 percent from 3.4 percent); furnishings and household equipment (1.4 percent from 1.5 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (4 percent from 4.3 percent); and hotels and restaurants (2.2 percent from 2.4 percent).

Annual core inflation rate dropped to an all-time low of 2.1 percent in December from 2.3 percent in the previous month.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.4 percent, following a 0.2 percent gain in the previous period.




Friday December 29 2017
Russia Inflation Rate Unchanged at 26-Year Low
Federal State Statistics Service | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's consumer price inflation was unchanged at 2.5 percent year-on-year in December 2017, missing market expectations of 2.6 percent, a preliminary estimate showed. The figure stood at its lowest level since the series began in 1991, well below the central bank's target of 4 percent.

Record-low inflation continues to provide the central bank with room to cut further its key lending rate from the current level of 7.75 percent.

Within the goods component, food inflation was unchanged at 1.1 percent; while prices of non-food products rose by 2.8 percent, faster than a 2.7 percent gain in November. Also, cost of services went up by 4.4 percent after a 4.3 percent increase in the previous month.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 0.4 percent, following a 0.2 percent gain in November and also missing expectations of 0.5 percent. Prices rose faster for food (0.6 percent from 0.2 percent in November) and services (0.3 percent from 0.1 percent) while non-food inflation was unchanged at 0.3 percent.


Tuesday December 19 2017
Russian Jobless Rate Falls to 5.1% in November
Federal State Statistics Service | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russian unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in November 2017 from 5.4 percent in the same month of the previous year and in line with market expectations.

The number of unemployed people fell by 227 thousand to 3.887 million from 4.114 million in the corresponding month of the previous year. Compared to October, the number of unemployed increased by 28 thousand from 3.859 million.

Real wages in Russia rose 5.4 percent year-on-year in November, the same pace as in the previous month and above market expectations of a 4.4 percent increase. Average nominal wages jumped 8 percent to RUB 38,720 while annual inflation rate slowed to 2.5 percent, the lowest since at least 1991. Meanwhile, real disposable income dropped 0.3 percent, after a 1.7 percent fall in October.




Friday December 15 2017
Russia Cuts Policy Interest Rate to 7.75%
Central Bank of the Russian Federation | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Bank of Russia lowered its benchmark one-week repo rate by half a percentage point to 7.75 percent on December 15th, as inflation continued to fall below its 4 percent target in recent months while the economy is growing at a steady pace. The bank also said it expected to deliver more cuts in the first half of 2018.

Information Notice of Bank of Russia:

Under the impact of temporary factors annual inflation holds below 3%. It is estimated at 2.5% as of 11 December 2017.

In 2017 Q4, increased supply of farm produce on the back of growing crop productivity and the shortage of long-term storage facilities continued to exert a downward pressure on consumer price growth. As a result, annual food inflation fell to 1.1% in November 2017. The majority of factors associated with the 2017 harvest will cease to have a disinflationary influence in the first half of 2018. The contribution of the exchange rate dynamics to annual inflation slowdown diminishes and will be exhausted in 2018 Q1.

Annual growth in prices of non-food products, which stood at 2.7% in November, is observed to decline, while services prices went up by 4.2% over the year. According to Bank of Russia estimates, the majority of annual inflation indicators reflecting the most sustainable price movements are somewhat below 4%.

The slowdown of inflation was conducive to a decline in inflation expectations, which nevertheless remains unstable and uneven. The anchoring of inflation close to 4% will require both further decrease in inflation expectations and making them less susceptible to price changes.

Annual inflation is expected to be under 3% in late 2017 and come close to 4% by late 2018 as the impact of temporary factors is exhausted.

Depending on the situation, a number of factors may cause inflation to deviate from the target both upwards and downwards. They include the dynamics of food and oil prices, which are characterised by high volatility. The fiscal rule will set off the impact of the oil market conditions on inflation and the domestic economic environment as a whole. At the same time, certain factors generate mostly pro-inflationary risks: this includes the situation in the labour market, potential changes in the consumer behaviour, and the nature of inflation expectations.

The extension of the agreement between oil-exporting countries lowers the uncertainty of energy prices’ dynamics and related pro-inflationary risks over a one-year horizon. However, the risks of upward deviation of inflation from the forecast in the medium term still prevail. First, increased structural labour shortage may cause labour productivity growth to considerably lag behind wage growth. Second, inflationary pressure may stem from changes in households’ behaviour as the propensity to save becomes much lower. Third, inflation expectations remain elevated and subject to fluctuations caused by movements in prices of certain goods and services and the exchange rate. Besides, the medium-term balance of risks for inflation dynamics will depend on potential budgetary and tariff decisions in 2019–2020. The Bank of Russia will also monitor risks posed by external factors all over the forecast horizon.

Moving forward, the Bank of Russia’s key rate decisions will be based on its assessment of the balance of risks of inflation’s material and sustainable deviation in either direction from the target, as well as the dynamics of economic activity against the forecast. The Bank of Russia will continue its gradual transition from moderately tight to neutral monetary policy and holds open the prospect of some key rate reduction in the first half of 2018.




Tuesday December 12 2017
Russia Trade Surplus Widens 50% in October
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's trade surplus widened by 50 percent to USD 9.83 billion in October 2017 from USD 6.56 billion in the same month a year earlier, but below market expectations of a USD 9.98 billion surplus.

Exports increased 27.1 percent to USD 31.45 billion from USD 24.75 billion in October 2016, as exports to non-CIS countries advanced 27.8 percent to USD 26.79 billion while those to CIS countries went up 23.2 percent to USD 4.66 billion. 

Imports went up at a slower 18.8 percent to USD 21.62 billion from USD 18.19 billion a year earlier. Imports from non-CIS countries climbed 19 percent to USD 19.34 billion and those from CIS countries advanced 17 percent to USD 2.28 billion. 

The trade surplus with non-CIS countries grew 57.8 percent to USD 7.45 billion from USD 4.72 billion a year ago; and with CIS countries it widened 29.8 percent to USD 2.38 billion from USD 1.83 billion.

In January to October, the trade surplus widened sharply to USD 90.24 billion from USD 69.53 billion in the same period of 2016.


Tuesday December 12 2017
Russia Q3 GDP Growth Confirmed at 1.8%
Federal State Statistics Service | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's gross domestic product grew by 1.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017, unrevised from the preliminary estimate and following a 2.5 percent expansion reported in the previous period.

Agriculture advanced by 3.8 percent after a 0.1 percent gain in the second quarter.

Within services, output rose at a faster pace for: transportation and storage (4.3 percent from 3.7 percent in Q2); hotels and restaurants (4 percent from 0.2 percent) information and communication activities (4.9 percent from 4.1 percent); financial and insurance activities (5.1 percent from 2.7 percent); and administrative and related additional services (2.7 percent from 2.2 percent).

By contrast, industrial production contributed negatively to growth due to weaker expansion in mining (2.3 percent from 4.6 percent in Q2) and electricity, gas and steam, air conditioning (0.4 percent from 2 percent). In addition, output contracted for manufacturing (-0.1 percent from 1.2 percent); construction (-0.7 percent from 2.8 percent) and water supply, water disposal, organization of waste collection and disposal, pollution control activities (-4.8 percent from 0.9 percent).

In the first three quarters of the year GDP rose 1.6 percent, compared with a 0.4 percent contraction in the same period of 2016.

For 2017, the government expects the economy to expand 2.2 percent while the central bank sees GDP growth at 1.7-2.2 percent.




Tuesday December 05 2017
Russia Inflation Rate Slows to New Record Low in November
Federal State Statistics Service | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's consumer price inflation declined to 2.5 percent year-on-year in November 2017 from 2.7 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 2.6 percent. The figure came in well below the central bank's target of 4 percent, hitting the lowest level since the series began in 1991.

Prices rose at a slower pace for food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.6 percent from 1.2 percent in October); clothing and footwear (3.4 percent from 3.8 percent); furnishings and household equipment (1.5 percent from 1.6 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (4.3 percent from 4.5 percent); and hotels and restaurants (2.4 percent from 2.7 percent). Meanwhile, inflation was unchanged for housing and utilities (at 4.3 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (at 2.3 percent) while it rose for transport (4.3 percent from 4 percent in October).

Annual core inflation rate also dropped to an all-time low of 2.3 percent in November from 2.5 percent in the previous month.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.2 percent, the same pace as in the previous period.


Monday November 20 2017
Russia Jobless Rate Down to 5.1%
Federal State Statistics Service | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Russian unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in October of 2017 from 5.4 percent in the same month of the previous year, matching market expectations. In the previous month, the unemployment was slightly lower at 5 percent.

The number of unemployed people fell by 240 thousand to 3.86 million from 4.1 million in the corresponding month of the previous year. Compared to September, the number of unemployed increased by 40 thousand from 3.82 million.

Real wages went up 4.3 percent year-on-year in October, following an upwardly revised 4.4 percent gain in September and beating market expectations of 2.8 percent. Average nominal wages jumped 7.1 percent to RUB 38,275 while the annual inflation rate slowed to 2.7 percent, the lowest since at least 1991. Meanwhile, real disposable income dropped 1.3 percent, more than a 0.3 percent decline in September.


Monday November 13 2017
Russia GDP Growth Slows to 1.8% in Q3
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russia's gross domestic product grew 1.8 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017, slowing down from a 2.5 percent expansion reported in the previous period. The weaker expansion was likely caused by slower industrial production while other sectors like retail, construction and agriculture grew faster.

It was the fourth straight quarter of growth after two years of contraction. Still, the expansion slowed from a 2.5 percent advance in the second quarter, which was the best annual rate since the third quarter of 2012.
The Ministry of Economic Development had previously estimated GDP growth in the third quarter of 2017 at 2.2 percent.
For 2017, the government expects the economy to expand 2.2 percent while the central bank sees GDP growth at 1.7-2.2 percent.