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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

January Production Shows Seasonal Lull

Despite government hopes that 1996 will be a year of recovery for the ailing Russian economy, economic statistics for the beginning of the year suggest a disappointing start.

Gross domestic product in January slipped 3 percent from January 1995, according to figures in the latest official bulletin of the State Statistics Committee, released this week. GDP for the month totaled 166 trillion rubles (about $35 billion) in current prices.

Industrial production fell 5 percent in January from January 1995. Output in light industry, hit hard by competition from high-quality imported consumer goods, was off 33 percent.

January oil production slipped 1 percent from January 1995, while gas production remained about the same.

Steep declines in the economy since the beginning of economic reforms in 1992 slowed last year. GDP fell 4 percent in 1995 from the previous year, and industrial production was off 4 percent.

The January dropoffs were more dramatic compared with December 1995, with GDP down 16 percent for the month. Economic experts attributed the month-on-month drop to seasonal factors, however.

"January is always hard month for the economy," said Nina Odint of the Leontyev Institute of Economics in St. Petersburg. "There are a lot of holidays. People have a rest during almost half the month. Enterprises are concluding new contracts with their partners and settling balances from the previous year."

There was growth in some areas, including electricity and nonferrous metals production, which were up 1 percent in January from one year earlier. Production of aluminum rose 16 percent, and copper 9 percent.

The federal budget continued to feel the economic pinch, receiving only 15 trillion rubles in revenues against 30 trillion planned, according to the Finance Ministry. Revenues in previous Januarys also have fallen short of projections.

January inflation was reported earlier at 4.1 percent, up from 3.2 percent in December, the lowest sincein 1992.