Russia’s gross domestic product grew by 4.2 percent in 2011, the world’s third highest growth rate among leading economies, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
With the country’s GDP growth fueled by high world oil prices, Russia was only behind China with 9.5 percent growth and India with 7.8 percent, the premier said.
GDP growth was just 1.5 percent in the eurozone and 1.6 percent in the United States, the premier said.
As for industrial production growth, Russia was placed fourth with 4.7 percent after China, India and Germany. In the eurozone, industrial output growth was considerably slower and equaled 3.2 percent, Putin said.
Russia’s government debt was only 10.4 percent of GDP at the end of 2011, with the sovereign debt standing at only 2.5% of the economy’s size, the premier said.
Russia’s federal budget surplus amounted to 0.8 percent of GDP in 2011 compared with the 4.3 percent budget deficit in Germany and 6.2 percent in the eurozone, the premier said.
“There are even more alarming facts: the budget deficit is 10.8 percent (of GDP) in Greece, 9.3 percent in Spain, 7.1 percent in France, 11.2 percent in Great Britain, 9.6 percent in the U.S. and 10.3 percent in Japan,” Putin said.
The premier said, however, that Russia needed to continue reducing its dependence on oil and gas revenues and switch to an innovative model of economic development and create no less than 25 million jobs in the country.
Russia’s international reserves topped $500 billion in 2011, the premier said.
“Russia has restored its gold and foreign currency reserves, which currently stand at over $500 billion. By this indicator, we hold the third place in the world,” Putin said.