18 Feb 2020 16:07

Kudrin doubts 1.9% economic growth forecast due to coronavirus

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) - Alexei Kudrin, the chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber, said he was doubtful about the government's 1.9% economic growth forecast and that adverse factors like the coronavirus needed to be taken into account.

"The measures in fulfillment of the [president's] address will produce an additional effect on economic growth. Right now I hesitate to say how much - this will have to be assessed. Experts are also saying 1.9%," Kudrin told reporters, when asked whether he agreed with the Finance Ministry's forecast of 1.9% GDP growth in 2020.

"But those factors related to coronavirus that might slow the growth also have to be assessed. We'll be looking at a balance of those factors," he said.

The Russian government's 2020 GDP growth forecast has been raised from 1.7% to 1.9%, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said at a Cabinet meeting on February 13 that discussed adjustments to the 2020-2022 budget in connection with the measures outlined in the president's address to the Federal Assembly.

A source familiar with the Economic Development Ministry's adjusted forecast, sent to other ministries for their approval, told Interfax that the ministry had raised its 2020 GDP growth forecast to 1.9% at the beginning of February. The 2021-2024 forecasts are unchanged at 3.1%, 3.2%, 3.3% and 3.3%.