|Russian Economic Data Cast Doubt on Optimism, UniCredit Says|
|October 13, 2009|
By Paul Abelsky
Russia’s economic statistics can’t be considered “fully reliable,” prompting analysts to question the credibility of government statements predicting a resumption of growth, according to UniCredit Spa.
Indicators, including wages and real disposable income, “are frequently modified, with reported trends shifting from upward to downward and back this year,” which casts “doubt on the accuracy of data and the recent optimistic statements by several government officials about the apparent start of economic recovery,” Vladimir Osakovsky, an economist in Moscow at UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank, said in a note to clients today.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Sept. 29 that Russia has “come out of recession,” after the economy of the world’s biggest energy supplier contracted a record 10.9 percent in the second quarter. “We have passed the sharpest phase of the crisis,” said Igor Shuvalov, one of two first deputies of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Sokolin, the departing chief of the Federal Statistics Service, said government officials aren’t interested in “objective statistical information” and complained about the decision to place his agency under the control of the Economy Ministry, according to an interview published in this week’s issue of Itogi magazine.
Lack of Experts
After a May 22 report showed that Russia’s joblessrate rose to 10.2 percent in April, the highest rate in more than eight years, the Statistics Service revised unemployment data to show that it peaked this year at 9.5 percent in February and has declined or held steady every month since then.
The lack of experts and economic advisers to guide government policy explains the extent of Russia’s record contraction, which is worse than among its peers of emerging markets and developed economies, Sokolin told Itogi.
Questions about Russia’s economic data have “the potential to threaten investor optimism towards the Russian economy,” UniCredit’s Osakovsky wrote.
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