The Ministry of Economic Development of Russia has introduced a new macro forecast for 2020-2023. In its assessment, the agency took into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions on the country's main economic indicators.

According to TASS, citing the document, according to the results of 2020, Russia's GDP may be reduced by 5%. Experts of the ministry forecast the deepest decline in the indicator from April to June - by 9.5%. However, as the ministry believes, already in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020, the recession will slow down to 6.3% and 5.2%, respectively, and in 2021 the economy will be able to resume growth.

“In 2021, we are still expecting a 2.8% economic recovery. Speaking in annual terms, reaching the pre-crisis levels is still the first half of 2022, ”said Maxim Reshetnikov, head of the Ministry of Economic Development.

In general, as noted in the ministry, already in 2022 the economic growth rate could accelerate to 3%, and in 2021 to 3.1%. Moreover, in the near future, the revival of economic activity will largely depend on the rate of weakening of quarantine measures. Georgy Ostapkovich, director of the Center for Market Research at the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, HSE, spoke about this in an interview with RT.

“As soon as the enterprises closed during the pandemic work, domestic consumption will begin to grow. We will also see an increase in labor productivity, as many employees will return to the full performance of their duties on the ground. As the restrictions are lifted, it will be possible to observe the restoration of the supply chain of goods. Moreover, the service sector, entertainment and tourism have seriously suffered due to the virus. Their revitalization will provide an additional incentive for the development of the economy as a whole, ”explained Ostapkovich.

According to the Ministry of Economic Development, in 2020, industrial production may decline by 5.4%, but already in 2021 and 2022 it will grow by 3.3%, and in 2023 - by 3.4%. Experts of the Ministry of Economic Development estimate the decline in retail sales this year at 5.2%. Meanwhile, in 2021, the indicator will increase by 4%, in 2022 - by 3.2%, and in 2023 - by 2.8%.

“With regard to industry, the first to show growth in the medical and pharmaceutical industries due to the high demand for these products among the population. Also, the chemical industry will begin to show positive results due to demand in both domestic and foreign markets. In addition, deferred demand syndrome will work, which can provoke an increase in sales of electronics, automobiles and other expensive purchases, ”said Ostapkovich.

A similar situation can be observed in the field of foreign trade. So, this year, the Ministry of Economic Development predicts a decline in exports by about 33% to $ 268 billion, and imports by 21%, to $ 200 billion. However, already in 2021, the indicators will increase to $ 301 billion and $ 227 billion, and in 2023 m reached $ 400 billion and $ 280 billion, respectively.

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  • © Sergei Karpukhin

A gradual increase in oil prices can also provide some support to the economy. This was in an interview with RT by the head of the laboratory of the Institute of Applied Economic Research, RANEPA Alexander Abramov.Recall that in early April, the cost of raw materials of the Russian Urals variety fell for the first time since 1999 to $ 10 per barrel. However, to date, quotes have already risen above $ 30.

“In principle, oil prices have now noticeably rebounded from the lows of recent months. It also provides the basis for optimism. The cost of raw materials today fluctuates around $ 32–35, which is at least one and a half to two times higher than those that we observed in March. Thus, the strengthening of oil prices softened the current situation, ”Abramov said.

According to the forecast of the Ministry of Economic Development, in 2020 the average price of Urals oil will be $ 31.1 per barrel, in 2021 - $ 35.4, in 2022 - $ 42.2, and in 2023 - $ 45.6.

Against this background, the Ministry predicts the average dollar rate this year at 72.6 rubles, in 2021 - 74.7 rubles, in 2022 - 73.3 rubles, and in 2023 - 72.1 rubles. Moreover, over the entire period from 2020 to 2023, the inflation rate in Russia will not exceed 4%.

Supporting measures

It is noteworthy that the level of “drawdown” of the economy observed today turned out to be less than previously expected, said Georgy Ostapkovich. In many ways, the specialist explains this by measures of state support for the population and business, as well as the general financial stability of the country.

“The level of public debt in Russia is one of the lowest in the world, which allows us to freely increase borrowing to compensate for shortfalls in non-oil and gas revenues. Moreover, even during the most severe quarantine period, system-forming enterprises continued to work with us, which helped to minimize damage. At the same time, thanks to the operational actions of the Russian government, it was possible to keep in working condition the sectors that are responsible for the formation of GDP - industry, construction and agriculture, ”said Ostapkovich.

  • © Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi / Kremlin via REUTERS

Recall that earlier the authorities approved three packages of measures to support the economy. In particular, we are talking about payments to families with children, as well as soft loans and tax breaks for companies and entrepreneurs. According to experts, the actions of the authorities allowed to contain a sharp decline in incomes and prevent an excessive increase in unemployment.

According to the Ministry of Economic Development, in 2020 the real disposable income of the population may decrease by 3.8%, but already in 2021 it will increase by 2.8%, and in 2022 and 2023 they will increase by 2% and 2.6%, respectively. The unemployment rate in 2020 will increase from the current 4.7% to 5.7%. However, in 2021 the indicator will decrease to 5.4%, in 2022 - to 4.9%, and in 2023 it will return to 4.7%.

“The projected unemployment rate of 5.7% can be considered relatively low when compared with other countries most affected by the pandemic. For example, in the USA they forecast a figure near 20-25%. Therefore, due to measures to support small and medium-sized businesses, our situation was not as acute as it could be, ”said Ostapkovich. 

On May 25, the Ministry of Economic Development should submit to the government a detailed plan for economic recovery. According to Maxim Reshetnikov, the primary task of the authorities is to increase citizens' incomes, employment, and also to restart the investment cycle. In general, as the minister noted, in the current conditions, the Russian economy has shown great strength, but after the pandemic, the country has a “long way uphill”.