Russian Economy May Grow 2% in 2017 Amid Highest Business Confidence Since 2011

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The business confidence in Russia has reached the highest level since 2011, the economic development minister said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Economic Development Ministry expects the country's economy to grow some two percent this year as the recovery begins to affect the broader population, ministry head Maxim Oreshkin said Wednesday.

"In the start of 2017 the situation is also quote positive… In 2017 we expect growth to be broader, expanding into the consumer sector. We expect incomes to recover, there will be a positive tendency. We expect growth of some two percent in 2017," Oreshkin said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So far, rail freight and the electricity sectors are showing the best growth figures, the minister added, noting that business confidence had reached the highest levels in over five years.

"Rail freight increased around nine percent year-on-year, this is a very high increase, it indicates that economic activity is recovering. Looking at business surveys, the figures are showing that the level of confidence is at its highest since 2011," Oreshkin said, adding that the recovery has so far only impacted a limited number of sectors, including agriculture and chemicals.

Russia is emerging from a two-year recession that began amid collapsing commodity prices, including oil, as well as the Western sanctions. In 2016, Russia's economy is estimated to have contracted by 0.5 percent after contracting almost four percent the previous year. The first three quarters saw negative growth rates before a slight GDP increase in the fourth quarter. The Economic Development Ministry's 2017 baseline scenario forecast is a GDP increase of 0.6 percent.

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