Russia’s economy grew last quarter at the fastest pace since the three months ended September 2011 as retail sales outweighed slower production in mining.
Gross domestic product expanded 4.9 percent from the same period last year after rising 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said in an e-mailed statement today. That matched its first estimate on May 15.
The world’s biggest energy exporter is growing “above potential” and is on target to expand about 4 percent this year and next, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday. President Vladimir Putin is counting on domestic demand to balance shrinking sales in Russia’s biggest trading partners, the European Union and China.
“We’re seeing a fairly comfortable picture,” Vladimir Pantyushin, a Moscow-based economist at Barclays Capital, said by phone before the release. “Consumer demand is growing and investment has been more or less fine.”
Retail and wholesale trade grew 9.1 percent in first three months from a year earlier, while manufacturing expanded 3.5 percent and mineral extraction rose 2 percent, the service said. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said today GDP expanded 4 percent in the period.
Putin, who was inaugurated for his third term in the Kremlin on May 7, has said growth must reach at least 6 percent annually to turn the economy into one of the world’s five largest by purchasing power by 2015.
The economy grew at an average annual rate of 7 percent during Putin’s first two terms, from 2000 to 2008. before plunging 7.8 percent in 2009. The government reduced its projection for economic growth this year to 3.4 percent, from 3.7 percent, because investment will be weaker than initially estimated.
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