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Russia’s Economic Growth to Slow to 2.4% in 2013: Klepach

Russia’s economy will grow slower than expected in 2013 due to decelerating industrial output and investment, Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach said.

Gross domestic product will expand 2.4 percent compared with a previous forecast of 3.6 percent, Klepach told reporters in the far eastern city of Ulan Ude today. The ministry also cut its prediction for industrial output to 2 percent from a previous 3.6 percent and for investment in productive capacities to 4.6 percent from 6.5 percent, Klepach said, adding that the new figures were “optimistic.”

Russia, the world’s largest energy producer, faces an economic slowdown as Europe’s debt crisis prompts companies to cut investment. The expansion eased to 2.1 percent in 2012’s fourth quarter, the slowest pace since a recession in 2009. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s medium-term target is for 5 percent growth.

“That’s a very significant forecast reduction,” Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at Otkritie Financial Corp. in Moscow, said by phone. “Growth below 3 percent is close to stagnation for emerging economies, which includes Russia.”

The ruble gained 0.2 percent against dollar to 30.8120 as of 6:52 p.m. in Moscow. The Micex Index fell 1.7 percent to 1,401.73 by the close in Moscow, the lowest since Nov. 29.

The economy expanded “about 1 percent” in the first quarter, Economy Minister Andrei Belousov said April 7. According to the ministry’s estimates, February gross-domestic-product growth decelerated to 0.1 percent from a year earlier compared with 1.6 percent in January.

Russia’s economy will expand less than 2 percent in 2013 if output continues at the current pace, Klepach said at a March 29 conference in Moscow.

Net capital outflows will reach $30 billion to $35 billion this year, Klepach said today, compared with a previous forecast of $10 billion. The central bank estimates net outflows will total $25.8 billion in the first quarter.

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