Ukraine and Russia remain in the spotlight this weekend. Here are the top stories.
Russia Issues Downbeat Economic Statement
The World Politics Journal notes Russia’s central bank issues a downbeat statement on the Russian economy.
On Friday, April 25th, Russia’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.5 per cent, giving higher inflation risks as a reason behind its decision.
‘The probability of inflation exceeding the 5% target at the end of 2014 has increased substantially’, the Russian central bank said in a statement.
Annual inflation stood at 7.2 per cent as of Monday, April 21st. However, the central bank estimates that inflation would not exceed 6 per cent by the end of 2014.
The Russian economy expanded 1.3 per cent in 2013, the slowest pace of growth since a 2009 recession. For comparison, the economy grew by 3.4% in 2012. The Bank of Russia said in a downbeat statement on the economy: ‘Labour productivity growth is sluggish, while fixed capital investment continues to contract because of declining profits in the real sector, limited access to long-term financing in both international and domestic markets, as well as low producer and consumer confidence.
The Russian central bank predicts that the country ‘will continue to witness a downward trend in economic growth’ in 2014, adding ‘Amid economic uncertainty and declining producer confidence there is a strong probability of a reduction in fixed capital investment. Combination of slower growth in real wages and a decline in household lending growth rates will have a dampening effect on consumer activity’.