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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stats Say 2001 Good But Growth Slacking

The State Statistics Committee on Wednesday issued a slew of final statistics for last year that largely confirmed what was already known -- 2001 was a good year for the economy. But it wasn't as good as the year before, and some worrying trends emerged, analysts said.

Figures released by the committee showed that economic growth slowed in five core sectors -- industry, construction, agriculture, transport and retail -- to 5.7 percent, compared to 10.2 percent in 2000.

Industrial output grew 4.9 percent to 5.88 trillion rubles ($192 billion), missing the official target of 5.2 percent, but still one of the highest rates in the world. The second quarter showed the greatest gain over the same period in 2000, when industrial production grew 5.9 percent. However, production growth slowed continuously in the last quarter, with the December figure just 2.6 percent above the previous year.

"We can see here some negative trends as industrial growth slowed sharply at the end of the year. This trend might continue in January and slow economic growth as a whole," said Vladimir Tikhomirov, an economist at NIKoil.

The government forecasted gross domestic product growth of 4 percent at the start of 2001 but eventually raised that estimate to 5 percent to 5.5 percent. The committee is expected to release final GDP data for 2001 in March.

Another worrying trend is the sharp reduction in export volumes, Tikhomirov said.

The visible foreign trade surplus in the first 11 months grew 5.4 percent to $47.101 billion, compared to $55.367 billion a year ago. Exports declined 0.5 percent to $94.886 billion while imports rose 19.5 percent to $47.785 billion in January-November.

"Even if exports stay on the same level while imports continue growing it will lead to a reduction of the trade balance and the balance of payments," he said.

However, Alexei Moiseyev, an economist at Renaissance Capital, said such an increase in imports and decrease in exports is good for the economy.

"Exports will exceed imports for a while more, so the import growth will put healthy pressure on local producers, if it is not too sharp," said Moiseyev.

"The Russian economy showed that it reacts rather flexibly to international situations," Moiseyev added.

Real disposable incomes rose by an estimated 5.9 percent in 2001, and real wages were up 19.8 percent. Excluding inflation, wages rose 45.5 percent.

Another bright spot was in agriculture, where production grew 6.8 percent in monetary terms to 1 trillion rubles ($32.7 billion). Russia harvested 85 million tons of grain in clean weight last year, or 29.7 percent more than in 2000, although it harvested less corn, millet, buckwheat and rice.

Other statistics released include:

Capital investment grew 8.7 percent to 1.6 trillion rubles.

Freight turnover grew 3.1 percent (4.9 percent by rail).

Retail sales rose 10.8 percent.

Consumer price inflation was 18.6 percent.

Producer price inflation was 10.7 percent.

Unemployment shrank 9.1 percent to 6.4 million, 9 percent of the workforce.