WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) -- The International Monetary Fund said the Russian economy, because of the effects of the country's involvement in Ukraine, is already in a recession.
IMF economist and Moscow mission chief Antonio Spilimbergo noted a higher growth rate for Russia was predicted only three weeks ago, but confirmed a downgrade of a growth forecast for Russia from 1.4 percent to 0.2 percent.
The expected flight of over $100 billion in capital from Russia in 2014 and a tightening of sanctions by Western countries, the IMF forecast said, contributed to the downgrade. Spilimbergo said, “If we define recession as negative growth in two quarters in a row, then Russia, from that point, is experiencing recession. We expect that the fall in investments, that already took place in 2013, will increase further this year.”
In the first three months of 2014, Russia’s economy contracted by 0.5 percent compared to the same period last year. And last week, the Standard and Poor’s ratings agency downgraded Russia’s ability to repay its debt to a rating of BBB-minus, one place above junk status.