Positive impact of higher oil prices offset by sanctions
Economic growth in Russia is expected to hold steady at 1.5 per cent this year and into 2019 as the positive impact of higher oil prices is offset by the negative economic consequences of sanctions imposed by the United States of America and the European Union (EU), said the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
In its latest Regional Economic Prospects report, the EBRD noted Russia had returned to moderate growth in 2017 after a two-year recession, with the upturn driven primarily by recovering household consumption. Investment had also seen a relatively solid recovery, boosted by a temporary rise in public investment linked to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The report noted that a recovery in oil prices had resulted in a rouble appreciation against the US dollar in 2017 and in early 2018.
However, foreign exchange interventions, together with the new round of US sanctions against Russia which triggered a sell-off of Russian financial assets, had exerted downward pressure on the exchange rate since April 2018
The report stressed that, without significant reforms, Russia’s long-term economic growth might remain stuck at around 1 to 2 per cent annually due to outdated production capacities and low investments, as well as unfavourable internal structural factors, including weak demographics and obsolete infrastructure.