Russian Q1 economic contraction less than feared at 1.9%

Russia's economy shrank 1.9 percent in the first quarter under pressure from low oil prices and Western sanctions, the state statistics agency said Friday, a smaller contraction than had been fearedRussia’s economy shrank 1.9 percent in the first quarter under pressure from low oil prices and Western sanctions, the state statistics agency said Friday, a smaller contraction than had been feared. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last month estimated that the economy had shrunk by two percent year-on-year in the first quarter while Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev projected the contraction had reached 2.2 percent. Citing preliminary data, the state statistics service said that Russia’s gross domestic product contracted 1.9 percent in the first quarter year-on-year after an expansion of 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2014. Russia’s economy has been hit hard by plunging oil prices and several rounds of Western sanctions over Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine.

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