8 Feb 2023 14:10

GDP growth scenario for Russia in 2023 possible - Belousov

MOSCOW. Feb 8 (Interfax) - A growth scenario for the Russian economy in 2023 is possible, the government will take measures to implement it, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov told reporters.

"There are opportunities for growth in 2023, this is a probabilistic case. In this sense, the IMF evaluates us even better than we do ourselves," he said, commenting on the likelihood of the latest forecast by the IMF, which expects the Russian economy to grow in 2023, materializing.

"I have already said that we will keep within a 1% decline [in 2023], because the first quarter of 2022 was very positive [growth in the first quarter of 2022 was 3.5%], so there is a statistical effect - the high base effect, but then many things will depend on intra-year dynamics - and we have the opportunity to achieve growth for 2023," Belousov said.

"I'm not prepared to give probabilistic forecasts right now, but we will work to make it happen [Russia's GDP growth in 2023]," he said, assessing likelihood of a growth scenario for the Russian economy in 2023.

The International Monetary Fund in its latest report at the end of January changed its forecast for Russian GDP in 2023: it now expects GDP to grow 0.3% after previously forecasting decline of 2.3%, and said growth might accelerate to 2.1% in 2024.

The IMF's latest forecast for 2023 is considerably more upbeat than official Russian ones.

The Russian Economic Development Ministry is expecting the economy to shrink 0.8% in 2023 and the Central Bank expects a decline of 1-4%. The ministry plans to adjust its macroeconomic forecast in March-April, as scheduled, and sees no point reacting to momentary oil price fluctuations. The Central Bank will publish its updated forecast on February 8.

Analysts polled by the Central Bank in a monthly survey conducted on January 27-31 expect Russia's GDP to shrink by 1.5% in 2023, though in December they forecast a contraction of 2.4%.

Belousov said at the end of December that the situation in the Russian economy in 2023 will be "much easier" than in 2022, with GDP trends expected in the range of near zero to minus 1%.

The Russian economy performed better than the IMF expected it to in 2022. The IMF's October forecast envisaged GDP decline of 3.4%, following forecasts of 8.5% in April and 6% in July. But the economy ultimately fell around 2.5%, according to preliminary estimates. The IMF said in the outlook on January 31 that it thought Russian GDP had shrunk just 2.2% in 2022.