MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia's recession has not yet ended and activity in a number of key sectors has declined over the past five months, the country's Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA) said Monday.
"Economic statistics for January-July 2016 show that the recession de-facto has not ended. Current seasonally adjusted growth rates of the major sectors remain negative. The mining sector, retail, construction and other basic activities have been declining over the last five months," ACRA said in its latest forecast.
Russia's recession could last until early 2017, with growth rates likely to be restricted to less than 1.5 percent after that even in case oil prices rise, according to the forecast.
Russia's GDP is expected to fall 1.5 percent in 2016 and 0.1 percent next year before returning to growth and expanding 0.5 percent in 2018 and 0.7 percent in 2019.
In its oil price forecast, the agency said that Russia's Urals crude benchmark is expected to average at $41 per barrel in 2016 before appreciating to $43 and $44 per barrel in the two subsequent years.
Russia has been hit by a downturn that began in early 2015 after falling oil prices and Western anti-Russia sanctions took bite. The country's GDP fell 3.7 percent in 2015, according to the Russian Federal Statistics Service Rosstat.
In September, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said that the ministry has revised its 2016 growth forecast downward from —0.2 percent to —0.6 percent. The ministry expects growth in the third and fourth quarters.