Putin Wants Stimulus

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Monday for his government to draw up a package of measures to boost economic growth, while warning against changes to the country's recently adopted fiscal rule.

"We need to do everything necessary to secure stable and steady development of the Russian economy. To take a range of measures for stimulating economic growth," Putin said at a meeting with senior government officials to discuss economic policy, in the resort city of Sochi.

Russia's economy expanded by 1.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, barely half the growth rate seen in the final quarter of last year, as it was hit by slower investment and exports and weaker consumption. With prices of commodities — Russia's chief export — falling, some senior officials have warned the country could slide into recession.

The Economy Ministry this month cut its forecast for economic growth this year to 2.4 percent, from 3.6 percent.

(Reuters)