MOSCOW, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Russian economy, burdened by sanctions and lower crude oil prices, has largely passed over the worst of the crisis, President Vladimir Putin said.
Putin said during his annual press conference in Moscow gross domestic product growth of 0.7 percent is expected for next year. While not robust, the president said the economy is moving in the right direction.
"The real disposable household income has gone down; fixed investment has dropped by 5.7 percent over the first 10 months of the year," he said. "At the same time, as we have already said, statistics show that the Russian economy has generally overcome the crisis, or at least the peak of the crisis, not the crisis itself."
The inflation rate as of October was 15.6 percent, though Putin said rate has dropped to 12.3 percent as of Dec. 7. The Central Bank of Russia has set a goal of 4 percent by 2017.
Starting with the second quarter of 2015, when crude oil prices were about 60 percent higher than the current level, Putin said there have been steady signs of economic stabilization. From September to October, GDP grew by about 0.3 percent, compared with about 0.1 percent from the previous one-month period.
Russia's export-based economy depends heavily on oil and natural gas. In early December, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyakayev said the economy may need to move beyond energy in order to endure the downturn. Putin, for his part, said there may be room for future adjustments to economic policies.
"We calculated the budget for next year based on a very optimistic [forecast for oil at] $50 a barrel," he said. "However, now it is what -- $38 per barrel? Therefore, I believe we will have to make further adjustments."
Russia's central bank warned restricted access to Western markets could impede future development. Sanctions imposed by the Kremlin on Turkey, meanwhile, could cut both ways. A report from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development finds sanctions may reduce growth for the Turkish gross domestic product by up to 0.7 percentage points, though Russia will not be isolated by the sanctions impact.