Russian Retail Sales Beat Expectations as Unemployment Falls

Russian retail sales advanced at a faster rate than economists predicted in November as unemployment fell and real wages grew, tempering concerns about slowing economic growth.

Retail sales grew 4.5 percent from a year earlier after a revised 3.6 percent increase in October, the Moscow-based Federal Statistics Service said today in an e-mailed statement. That’s more than the 3.3 percent median forecast of 17 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The jobless rate dropped to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent, beating the median estimate of 16 economists for a 5.6 percent increase.

The world’s biggest energy exporter is struggling with the worst economic slowdown since 2009. The central bank left its benchmark interest rate at 5.5 percent on Dec. 13 as inflation quickened to 6.5 percent, half a percentage point more than the regulator’s target. The economy will probably grow 1.4 percent this year, according to Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach.

The Micex Index of 50 stocks rose 0.3 percent to 1,479 by 3:55 p.m. in Moscow. The ruble appreciated 0.1 percent to 32.9435 per dollar.

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