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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Industrial Output Beats Expectations

Industrial output continued to grow strongly in March, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Monday, exceeding analysts' expectations.

Industrial output rose by 7.9 percent in March, Gref told President Vladimir Putin. That was a slight fall from growth rates of 8.7 percent in February and 8.4 percent in January.

But that pace still beat analysts' expectations of an annual increase of 5.6 percent, according to a median response in a monthly poll. Gref's disclosure pre-empted Tuesday's official release of March output data.

"As expected, there is some slowdown compared with January and February because of the weaker base effect, but the future as a whole looks pretty good," said Yulia Tseplyayeva, economist at ING Bank. "And the main reason why the figure is that good is a very good result in manufacturing."

Gref said the country's manufacturing sector grew in March by 12.5 percent, while extraction of raw materials increased by 3.8 percent, Interfax reported.

In the first quarter, industrial output rose 8.4 percent, compared with 3 percent in the same period of 2006. Gref said manufacturing rose by 14.5 percent, while raw materials extraction gained 4.2 percent.

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry has recently revised upwards its 2007 industry output forecast to 5.2 percent from 4.3 percent.