|Russian GDP Shrinks at Slowest Pace in a Year, VTB Survey Shows|
|January 07, 2010|
By Tasneem Brogger
Russia’s economy contracted at the slowest pace in a year last month, an indicator derived from service and manufacturing surveys showed, while a weaker ruble meant the outlook for exporters improved, VTB Capital said.
The economy of the world’s largest energy exporter contracted an annual 1.3 percent in December after shrinking 2.5 percent in November, VTB, which compiles the indicator, said in an e-mailed statement released today.
“Weak export orders keep weighing on activity in the manufacturing sector” though “the recent currency depreciation” will “help local producers,” VTB Senior Economist Aleksandra Evtifyeva said in the report. “The service sector continues to recover.”
The ruble has slipped about 4 percent against the dollar since the middle of November after the central bank cut interest rates to a record low and said it was using the cuts to target speculative capital flows. That’s helping exporters as the economy recovers from its record 10.9 percent decline in the second quarter. Output shrank a further 8.9 percent in the third quarter.
Gross domestic product probably declined 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the VTB indicator showed. The economy grew 0.3 percent last quarter from the three months ended September, the first quarterly expansion since the third quarter of 2008, VTB said.
“The most encouraging aspect of the December purchasing manager index surveys was the moderation in the rate of job shedding,” Evtifyeva said.
The country’s manufacturing contraction deepened last month, with the PMI index slipping to 48.8 from 49.1 in November, VTB said on Jan. 4. The service PMI rose to 53.4 in December from 53.3 the previous month, it said on Jan. 6.
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