Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Accounts Chamber Chairperson Tatyana Golikova, and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
This is already the second meeting in this format since the beginning of the year. I propose that we focus today on the current state of the national economy. The trends are becoming more or less clear, and we have an overall understanding of the ongoing developments. New Year holidays have long passed, so it is time for us to gain better understanding of these trends, evaluate them and plan our work accordingly.
Overall, we are seeing positive economic momentum. Almost all key indicators for 2016 are already available, showing us that last year’s results exceeded our expectations. According to the latest figures, GDP declined by 0.2 percent, which is better than we initially expected, while industrial output increased by 1.1 percent.
Let me add that inflation hit record-low levels last year at just 5.4 percent, which is better than expected. We thought that it would not be less than 6 percent, maybe 6.1 percent, but it came in at 5.4 percent. This year, inflation continues to decelerate. In February, the inflation rate on a year-on-year basis went below the psychological threshold of 5 percent. As of February 13, it stood at 4.72 percent.
Business activity is also recovering, and the so-called business confidence index is on the rise. Of course, we need to maintain this positive momentum by ensuring a predictable economic and financial environment for our businesses.
It is now essential to find balanced solutions with a view to further curtailing inflation, developing domestic manufacturing, industrial production and agriculture, which in turn will lead to increases in real incomes. Let me emphasise that this is one of our key priorities as far as economic and social policies are concerned.
Let’s start a detailed discussion on these issues.