16 Feb 2018 15:50

No preconditions for drastic changes to 2018 macro-forecast - Oreshkin

SOCHI. Feb 16 (Interfax) - There are thus far no preconditions for a serious review of the 2018 macro-forecast, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said.

There is no need to overestimate unexpectedly high industrial output growth in January and no need to dramatize the year-end decline - median indicators did not change significantly, he said.

Russian industrial output in January 2018 was up 2.9% year-on-year after slipping 1.5% in December and 3.6% in November. These output figures were the highest since June 2017 and substantially above economists' expectations, as consensus forecasts had stipulated a 0.1% drop in industrial output.

"In fact, if we look at the data for a three-month period, the situation is on average more or less normal - industry continues to grow. Of course, it will not grow at the same rate [throughout the year] as we saw in January. I have yet to look at the comprehensive data, but, very likely, this is also an 'overswing' up. We have intentionally begun calculating median change indicators in the latest industrial output reporting, and I am confident that if we calculate it now for January, and we certainly will, it will be lower than the growth we have," Oreshkin said in the interview with the television channel Rossiya 24 on the sideline of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi.

"This will indicate that there are certain sectors which showed very poor results at the end of last year and dragged the whole index down with them, that now there are sectors that have shown very positive dynamics, and then again, pulled the index up, but on average everyone is growing little by little," the minister said.

"There are no preconditions thus far for us to drastically change our outlook for this year. Of course, much of what will happen here in H2 and in subsequent years will largely depend on the economic agenda of the next six years," Oreshkin said.

In the baseline scenario approved by the government in September, the Econ Ministry forecast 2018 industrial output growth of 2.5% in Russia.