Russia's economy grows at $40 per barrel oil

Russia's Central Bank last week said appetite was low for an increase in lending rates.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 9, 2017 at 8:41 AM

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The Russian economy will be on the positive side of growth even if the price of crude oil falls to $40 per barrel, the Central Bank of Russia said.

Central Bank Gov. Elvira Nabiullina said Thursday the Russian economy stands to exhibit growth this year. The number of economic sectors expected to expand this year is not much greater than those in contraction, but losers are outnumbered. Much of the strength depends on the price of crude oil, however.

"We will be in the positive zone in any scenario, even with $40 per barrel," she was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying.

A November forecast from the International Monetary Fund found the Russian economy had absorbed the shocks from the dual strains of lower crude oil prices and sanctions imposed because of the Kremlin's role in lingering conflict in Ukraine.

The White House under President Donald Trump has signaled it could ease some of the sanctions pressures for Russia.

For 2016, the IMF said it expected the Russian economy would contract by 0.6 percent, but grow by about 1.1 percent this year.

The board of directors at Russia's Central Bank said Friday they were keeping their key rate unchanged at 10 percent, adding "internal and external developments" had diminished the appetite for rate cuts this year.

Nabiullina said the rate of inflation is expected to be close to its low-end outlook of around 5.5 percent this year.

Last week, the Russian Finance Ministry said it expected the price of oil to oscillate between $40 per barrel and $60 per barrel over the next two years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the national budget for 2017 was pegged on oil priced at around $40 per barrel.

Russia's economy relies heavily on revenue from crude oil exports to the European and Asian markets.

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