A mission from the International Monetary Fund, headed by Antonio Spilimbergo, visited Moscow from Dec. 4-10.
The visit included a meeting with the Finance Minster Anton Siluanov, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina and other senior officials, business community representatives and academics.
The meeting ended with a statement from Spilimbergo in which he spoke on the continued slowing of growth in the midst of inflation, which remains above target. Spilimbergo expects GDP growth in 2013 to pick up slightly in 2014, while inflation is projected to stay above target.
Spilimbergo said that the fiscal policy has been well supported by the fiscal rule, though it still has some weaknesses. In 2013, it is projected that there will be weaker revenues overall and lower-than-budgeted privatization receipts, which would preclude transfers to the Reserve Fund in 2013. The budget, though, seems insufficiently ambitious for 2014-2016.
Spilimbergo said that the primary focus of the monetary policy should be on reining in inflation while also promoting greater exchange rate flexibility and that moves to address risks in the financial sector would be welcome.
Spilimbergo also said that he views structural reforms as a critical element in enhancing Russia's growth potential.
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