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3 Apr, 2024 18:40

Russia less reliant on oil and gas exports – PM

The economy has seen growth in industrial output, employment, and investments, Mikhail Mishustin has said
Russia less reliant on oil and gas exports – PM

The Russian economy is growing while becoming less reliant on oil and gas exports, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told lawmakers on Wednesday. The government’s revenue is increasing, allowing Moscow to finance growth and development projects, and to meet social obligations, he added.

The federal budget income surpassed 29 trillion rubles ($314 billion) in 2023, a rise of almost 5% compared to the previous year, the head of the Russian government said, as he presented his report to the State Duma. “Non-oil-and-gas income grew by a quarter,” he told MPs.

The economy, he said, “is becoming less dependent on the export of the raw materials.” According to Mishustin, the nation’s GDP increased by 3.6% last year, more than double the average growth reported by most developed nations over the same period, which amounted to 1.6%.

Total industrial output grew by 3.5%, the prime minister said, adding that the manufacturing sector demonstrated growth of 7.5%, while the unemployment rate was cut in half by the end of 2023 and amounted to 3%.

Russia also witnessed record high investments last year, which grew by 10% and reached the highest level in 12 years, according to the official. He added that the policies of the Russian central bank also allowed for inflation to be reined in, reducing it from 11.9% to 7.4%.

The nation’s debt, which is 17% of GDP, remains at a “secure level,” Mishustin noted, pointing out that it is far lower than in the West. Earlier this week, the central bank reported that as of January 1, “the external debt of the Russian Federation amounted to $316.8 billion, having decreased by $68.2 billion, or by 17.7%, over the course of [2023].”

Moscow has also managed to circumvent what Mishustin called a trade blockade imposed by the West in the form of sanctions. Russia’s trade volume with “friendly nations” surpassed $548 billion last year, which was roughly equal to the turnover Russia had with the whole world, including Western nations, four years ago, according to the prime minister.

In early March, The Economist reported that the Russian economy had “defied the doomsayers” and returned to its pre-conflict performance levels despite unprecedented sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the Ukraine conflict.

In late February, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). The nation had already become the biggest economy in Europe in terms of PPP, he added.