Russia sees first growth for two years in Q4: statistics agency


Russia's economy expanded for the first time in two years in the fourth quarter of 2016, data from the state statistics service showed Friday.

The country recorded 0.3 percent growth in gross domestic product year-on-year, Rosstat said, as Moscow pulls itself out of a two-year economic crisis triggered by tumbling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Russia's GDP last experienced growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it grew 0.2 percent.

Rosstat said that Russia's GDP had contracted 0.2 percent overall last year, after having shrank 2.8 percent in 2015.

The Russian government expects 0.6 percent growth this year. Economy minister Maxim Oreshkin has said that growth could even reach two percent.

This month Standard (Other OTC: SNDH - news) and Poor's agency raised its outlook for Russia's credit rating to "positive" from "stable", citing improving growth prospects and a lower risk of large capital outflows.

The agency said it expected Russia to resume positive growth this year, "averaging about 1.7 percent in 2017-2020."

Russia's economy has appeared to stabilise over the last few months after a recession that has diminished people's purchasing power and pushed large segments of the population into poverty.

The ruble -- battered by falling oil prices and Western sanctions in 2014 and 2015 -- has risen dramatically in recent months and last month strengthened to fewer than 60 rubles to the euro for the first time since June 2015 as oil prices recovered.