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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

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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