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Russian GDP fell 3.7% in 2015: state statistics agency

MOSCOW: Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell 3.7 percent in 2015 as the country’s energy-dependent economy reeled from low oil prices, the state statistics agency said on Monday, citing preliminary data.

The figure is in line with an earlier economy ministry estimate, cited by President Vladimir Putin at his annual press conference in December.

Russian GDP increased by 0.6 percent in 2014.

Russia — whose energy-reliant economy has already been pushed into recession by low oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine — has been rocked by the fresh fall in oil prices and officials have come under increasing pressure to react.

Russia’s central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said last week that authorities have “all the means” needed to ward off instability, as the ruble recovered after slumping to an all-time low against the dollar on Thursday.

Finance minister Anton Siluanov said this month that the country must adapt its budget to “new realities”.

Putin said last month that Russia had calculated its 2016 budget based an oil price of $50 per barrel, a figure he said was an “optimistic” assessment of the situation.

With the Brent hovering around $30 a barrel, the Russian government has announced an anti-crisis plan to support struggling sectors of the economy.

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