(Moscow-on-Thames blog) There’s a phrase in Russian – which I’m sure I’ve written about before – that warns against paying too much attention to “the average temperature in the hospital” (средняя температура по больнице, an indicator of patients’ aggregate health that is easily measured but generally meaningless). It’s a phrase that comes increasingly to mind every time I read or hear that Russia’s economy is set to grow by 2% of GDP this year: that figure might make Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin feel good about his stewardship, but it masks quite a range of ailments.
There were two bits of news in today’s headlines that should keep Oreshkin up at night. The first was the report – from his own ministry – that industrial production fell 3.6% year-on-year in November, after having been flat in October. That still puts Russian industrial production up 1.2% for the first 11 months of the year, but the ministry itself admits having been surprised by the numbers. And the weakness comes in those sectors – metals processing, machine building, and other processing industries – where both investment and value-added are greatest; raw materials exports, by contrast, are doing just fine. […]
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