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Economists and Officials Disagree On Recovery Forecasts

Published: February 24, 2014 (Issue # 1798)




  • Photo: For SPT

According to government predictions, state companies spending plans are likely to pull the economy out of stagnation toward the end of the year. Other economists, however, remain skeptical of these forecasts.

Figures for January released last week did not give grounds for optimism, and recent news reports have said that Russia may be headed into a recession.

Government officials remained hopeful despite State Statistics Service data showing that direct investment slumped 7 percent compared to the year before while analysts expected a 1.5 percent growth and retail sales growth slowed to 2.4 percent against 3.8 percent growth in December.

Unfortunately, the economy continues to stagnate, but we anticipate an end to this stagnation will come in the second or third quarter, said Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach, PRIME Business News Agency reported Friday.

Several economists interviewed by The Moscow Times disagreed with his relatively rosy outlook.

Judging by the falling levels of investment and production output, we are likely entering a recession, said Valery Mironov, deputy head of the Higher School of Economics Center for Development Institute.

Related: Ruble Continues Fall, Lowest Level Since 2009

Usually a local recession lasts for two to three quarters. So in the third quarter we should be talking not about an end of stagnation but about coming out of a recession, which either has already started or will start soon, Mironov said.

One driver for the reverse trend, Klepach said, will come from state companies like Gazprom, which saw a sharp drop in investment two years ago.

Speaking before investors in Hong Kong, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov echoed the words of his colleague on Friday.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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