According to the state statistics service, Rosstat, Russia’s economy shrank 3.8% year-over-year in the fourth quarter.
The number appears to be consistent with a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter fall of 0.8%, although Rosstat has not published these figures yet.
This follows a 3.7% year-over-year fall in the third quarter, which was revised up from the original 4.1% reading.
Although the headline GDP growth number might not seem stellar in light of the Q3 revised reading, Capital Economics’ Liza Ermolenko argues that this was due to “one-off factors.”
“The key driver of the sharper fall in Q4 GDP compared to Q3 was a steeper slump in household consumption. However, this was the result of unfavorable base effects as consumer spending boomed in Q4 2014 on the back of panic-buying spurred by the collapse in the ruble,” she explained.
Moreover, excluding household consumption, the economy also showed some other signs of improvement: The slump in fixed investment lessened to -6.0% year-over-year from -11.3% in the previous quarter. Additionally, exports rose by 9.8% year-over-year.
“Putting all of this together, today’s figures confirm that underlying conditions in the Russian economy improved in Q4. And more recent monthly activity data suggest that this continued in the first quarter of this year with output probably contracting by around 2.5% y/y,” Ermolenko concluded.
In short, she argued, the data on Friday “provides further evidence that the worst of the recession is now behind us.”