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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

GDP Grows in July, but Crisis Not Over

Russia's economy grew 0.5 percent in July month on month, data showed Monday, giving hope the recession might be coming to its end, but officials warned it is too soon to say the crisis is over.

Investors are looking for signs of green shoots after low oil prices, falling world demand for its exports, investor risk aversion over emerging markets and the global credit crunch pushed Russia into its first recession in a decade this year.

"In July we can say with greater certainty that the overall slowdown in the economy has ended, and it is moving to a phase of reanimation," Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach — the first official to admit the economy was in recession last December — told reporters.

"But the recovery is neither surefooted nor intense. In this sense, as they say in the West, the recession is over but the crisis remains," he said.

The comments chime with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who said on a visit to Ulan-Ude that economic growth had resumed but it remained to be seen how well it would hold up.

July's economic growth, unadjusted for seasonal effects, follows a smaller month-on-month increase in June, Klepach said.

"In industrial output, we have seen growth for two months already. But the fact that Klepach has confirmed this is also good, although I also understand the cautious optimism," said Alexandra Evtifyeva, an analyst at VTB Capital. "We are much more optimistic than the Economic Development Ministry. The July data once again show that the economy is recovering."

In year-on-year terms, the economy is not expected to return to growth until 2010 because of the steepness of the contraction it has experienced so far. GDP shrank 9.3 percent in July — its smallest year-on-year contraction since February.

June's fall was revised to 10.1 percent from 9.6 percent.

But the pace of recovery could well slow in the next few months, affected — among other things — by an accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station that is expected to take at least three years to repair.

"We think that manufacturing has passed its bottom … [but] we do not exclude that, in the future, there could be a pause in the improvement," Klepach said. "In September, KamAZ will be at a standstill, AvtoVAZ will be at a standstill. Losses linked to the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station will also have an impact."