• Putin says Russian economy improving

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    MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that the economy was set to shrink slightly this year, but by far less than in 2015, as the country struggles out of a two-year recession.

    “We will have a slight decrease this year, but not 3.7 percent” like last year, Putin told journalists at his annual press-conference.

    “In November we are observing slight growth of the country’s GDP. And most likely we will have (a decrease of) 0.5-0.6 percent this year,” Putin said.

    Russia’s economy has appeared to stabilise over the last months after two years of recession weighing on people’s purchasing power and pushing large segments of the population into poverty.

    Experts have linked the slight rebound to improving oil prices, which is fundamental to the Russian budget.
    Inflation in Russia will be around 5.5 percent, Putin said, which is lower than expected.

    “Most likely it will be around 5.5%, which is record low inflation,” he said.

    “That gives us reason to expect to reach our target of five percent and later four percent,” he said.
    Putin also praised Russia’s agriculture for a record harvest of 119 million tonnes of grain.

    “We have not seen anything like it in Russia’s modern history,” he said. “It’s a wonderful result.”

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