MOSCOW, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s GDP grew just 1.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, its fifth consecutive quarterly fall, the Federal Statistics Service said on Friday.
That is more optimistic, however, than Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach's earlier estimate of growth slowing to 1.1 percent.
In April, the ministry reduced its annual GDP forecast from 3.6 percent to 2.4 percent.
Russia's GDP growth slowed throughout 2012, falling from 4.8 percent in the first quarter to 4.3 percent in the second, 3 percent in the third and 2.1 percent in the fourth.
In late April, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the government to work out measures to boost growth and stimulate Russia’s faltering economy.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).