Russian economy in crisis mode

Situation is "quite problematic," Russia's prime minister says.

By Daniel J. Graeber

MOSCOW, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday all government hands were called upon to help an economy damaged by low oil prices and sanctions.

The Russian currency, the ruble, was trading near historic lows Monday at 61 per U.S. dollar. Dual strains from Western sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin's policies in Ukraine and the low price of oil is pushing the Russian economy toward recession.


Medvedev told his deputies there should be regular meetings to discuss the looming economic crisis.

"The economic situation is quite problematic to say the least," he said. "Therefore, all of the members of the government must hold key meetings in the areas that they coordinate, as we have already agreed," Medvedev said.

Analysis from the World Bank in December finds the Russian economy will face difficulties through 2016 because of the decline in global oil prices. Using an average price of $78 per barrel for 2015, about 35 percent higher than the current price, the bank finds real gross domestic product should contract by 0.7 percent for Russia.

In early December, the Russian prime minister said the economy never fully emerged from the global economic crisis six years ago.


By mid-December, the Russian Central Bank was forced to raise its key interest rate by 6.5 percent to 17 percent in an effort to arrest the decline of the nation's currency.

An annual report from the European Commission said the Russian economy was entering a period of stagflation.

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