Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Russian industrial production slowed more than forecast in December to its lowest level since October 2009 because of concern that Europe’s debt crisis would curb demand for exports.
Output at factories, mines and utilities advanced 2.5 percent from a year earlier, slowing from a 3.9 percent increase the previous month, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said today in an e-mailed statement. The median estimate of 11 economists in a Bloomberg survey was for growth of 3.4 percent.
“Expectations for demand are fairly moderate, and for now companies have been cautious about increasing inventories,” Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist for Russia and Kazakhstan at ING Groep NV in Moscow, said by phone before the release. “Given the generally negative news about a second wave of the crisis, expectations for industry and demand likely continued to worsen.”
Russian economic growth may slow this year after exceeding the government’s initial forecast in 2011, Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach said last month. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is seeking to return to the presidency in a March 4 vote, is targeting growth of at least 6 percent annually to help turn Russian into one of the world’s five largest economies.
Output at mines advanced 1.8 percent in December, up from 1.3 percent the previous month, the service said. Growth in production at manufacturers slowed to 3.3 percent from an increase of 4.9 percent in November, while output at utilities dropped 5.1 percent after expanding 3.2 percent the previous month.
Industrial output for the full year grew 4.7 percent, the statistics service said.
--With assistance from Zoya Shilova in Moscow. Editors: Andrew Langley, Torrey Clark
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