State statistics agency Rosstat said Russia’s GDP grew by 1.3% in 2019. That compares with an official expansion rate of 2.5% recorded in 2018 and is the weakest annual growth since Russia emerged from the economic crisis in 2016.
Despite the slowdown, the economy did pick up in the final half of the year, managing to beat pessimistic forecasts from organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) that had suggested Russia would struggle to record growth above 1%. Just two months ago, Kirill Tremasov, a former official at the Economy Ministry who has heavily criticized the quality of Russia’s official statistics, said hitting growth of 1.3% seemed “like a fantasy”.
Rosstat said growth in the natural resources industries, including the production of gas and gas condensate — which jumped by more than 10% — was the biggest contributor to growth over the year. Russia’s finance and insurance sector also expanded by more than 10%, news agency Interfax reported.
Rosstat has said it has five readings of GDP and revisions make numbers more accurate.
In the next few years, GDP growth is expected to pick up thanks to state investment in large infrastructure projects, reaching 2% to 3% by 2022, according to the central bank’s forecasts.