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Economy in Brief

Russian GDP Declined 7.9% In 2009
by Louise Curley February 1, 2010

Russia announced today that real GDP declined 7.9% in 2009, somewhat less than the 8.5% the government had estimated earlier, but still the deepest decline among the BRIC countries--Brazil, Russia, India and China as can be seen in the first chart. 

Russia's dependence on oil was largely responsible for its poor performance.  As shown in the second chart, the price of Urals crude oil fell almost 75% from its peak of $140.80 a barrel in July 2008 to $35.56 at year end.   By now the price of oil, at $73 a barrel, has more than doubled the low point.  The annual decline of 7.9% in GDP implies a significant improvement in the fourth quarter year to year decline.  While there may be revisions in the earlier data when the actual fourth quarter result is released, an estimate of the fourth quarter can be derived by subtracting the unseasonally adjusted published quarterly data for the first three quarters from the annual total.  The implied figure for the fourth quarter, not shown on the chart, but shown in the table below, is 2.6% below the year ago figure, a significant improvement over the declines of 9-10% in the first three quarters.   

  Q4 09  Q3 09 Q2 09 Q1 09 2009 2008 2007 2006
GDP (Billions, Chained 2003 Rubles)  4756.2* 4570.6 4014.6 3736.3 17077.7 18552.5 17570.9 16255.5
Y/Y Pct Change -2.6* -8.9 -10.9 -9.8 7.9 5.6 8.1 7.7
*  Computed: Reported annual total minus reported quarterly totals for first three quarters.

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