As oil prices stabilize in the wake of an OPEC-led production deal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said signs of economic strength are becoming clear. The Central Bank of Russia said all is well, even if oil drops to $40 per barrel.
Vladimir Putin sat with his top economic advisors for the 2nd time this year, saying there are clear signs of positive momentum.
By his read, the 0.2 % decline in gross domestic product last year was better than expected.
«The trends are becoming more or less clear, and we have an overall understanding of the ongoing developments,» he said. «Overall, we are seeing positive economic momentum.»
The International Monetary Fund said it expected a 0.6 % contraction for Russia last year, but growth would return at 1.1 % in 2017.
After keeping its key lending rates unchanged in early February, the Central Bank of Russia said growth would be in the positive zone even if crude oil prices returned to $40 per barrel.
Brent crude was trading at around $55.5 per barrel on February 17, 2017. Crude oil prices recovered from historic lows last year after members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pledged to keep production levels steady in an effort to balance a market that was heavily oversupplied. As a non-member state, Russia vowed to do its part to keep a lid on production.
OPEC economists said Russian oil production declined 120,000 barrels per day in January to 11.2 million bpd.
4th quarter output was slightly higher year-on-year and, after slight declines forecast for the 6-month duration of the OPEC supply agreement, Russia could return to January levels by the latter half of the year.
Broker PVM reported February 17, 2017, that Russian crude oil exports could increase by more than 5 % this year.
The Russian Ministry of Economic Development said it expects to see GDP range between 1.5 % and 2 % growth this year.
Though contracting in the 2nd half of last year, the decline was the slowest pace since 1st quarter 2015.