IMF reports slowdown in Russian economic growth
The IMF said that the slowdown in growth that began in 2011 as a result of structural constraints continued in 2013 despite reforms.
Real GDP growth slowed to 1.3 percent because of a decline in investment, while consumption remained strong due to strong real wage growth and a surge in unsecured consumer credit, according to the IMF.
The general government balance shifted from a slight surplus in 2012 to a slight deficit of more than one percent of GDP in 2013, it said.
As for 2014, geopolitical tensions have brought the Russian economy to a halt, and the IMF projects real GDP growth of 0.2 percent with strong downside risks.
Concerns about current and future sanctions following Russia's annexation of Crimea have also increased the risk of doing business in the country and are impacting investment. The IMF predicted that capital outflows could reach $100 million this year.
It projected a slight recovery in growth to one percent in 2015 due to stronger exports and stabilization of investment.
IMF directors concluded that a tighter monetary policy is needed to achieve the 2015 inflation target and growth expectations, and that deeper structural reforms are critical to improving Russia's growth prospects.
They encouraged Russian officials to reduce state involvement in the economy, curtail price distortions, and take additional steps to boost investment and productivity.