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UN experts improve Russian economic outlook, note success of import substitution program

UN experts have improved their outlook for the Russian economy, forecasting the 1.5-percent GDP growth in 2017 in their mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 report.

The January version of the report, prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), envisaged a one-percent growth of the Russian economy this year and a 1.5-percent GDP growth in 2018. The next year's forecast remaines unchanged.

UN DESA also reviewed the results of 2016. According to new calculations, Russia's GDP contracted by 0.2%, not by 0.8 as was previously estimated. As before, Russia is ranked among "economies in transition."

When asked by TASS to comment on the aftermath of Western sanctions, imposed on Russia, a UN DESA expert Dawn Holland said the government's import substitution program was one of the factors behind the projected economic growth.

"Sanctions clearly have some impact, access to international finance has been restricted in the Russian Federation which has held back the recovery," said Holland, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Global Economic Monitoring Unit, Development Policy and Analysis Division.

"We do see the economy recovering this year and one of the things behind that is that the shifts in the production structures which partly was a reaction to the sanctions, looking to replace imported goods with domestic production, and that has been quite successful in some sectors. So that is one of the factors behind the projection in the stronger growth this year," she went on. "So yes there are impacts, but they have been in place for an extended period of time now and the economy has started to sort of grow around them to accommodate those (sanctions)."

The global economic outlook will remain unchanged as compared to January's report, with a forecasted global GDP growth of 2.7% in 2017 and a 2.8% growth next year.

[Source: Itar Tass, UN, 17May17]

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