Russia GDP Q4 2018

Russia: Economy ends 2018 on strong note

A comprehensive estimate of national accounts data released by Rosstat on 1 April revealed that growth surged in the fourth quarter. The Russian economy grew 2.7% over the same period of the previous year, significantly above the third quarter’s revised 2.2% increase. Rosstat also released revised Q1-Q3 2018 quarterly GDP figures that notably upgraded economic activity in the year, reflecting methodological changes and a large upward revision to construction figures in January made earlier in the year.

Strengthening household consumption drove the fourth quarter’s upturn, with private consumption rising 2.0% over the same period of 2017 (Q3: +1.6% year-on-year). Households likely front-loaded some spending in the quarter ahead of the hike in the VAT scheduled for January 2019. In addition, inventories positively contributed to economic activity in the quarter, pushing up total investment. While in contrast, fixed investment growth slid to 0.2% likely weighed on by geopolitical uncertainty. Government spending grew 0.3% matching Q3’s reading.

Meanwhile, export growth slowed from 4.8% in the third quarter to 2.6% in the fourth quarter, weighed on by slower global trade and constrained oil output. Imports contracted 0.3%, contrasting the feeble 0.1% expansion in Q3. The drop chiefly reflected a weak ruble which has constrained orders from abroad.

Revised quarterly data for 2015-2017 is still outstanding.

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