Taking part in the meeting were Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
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Opening remarks by the President at a meeting on economic issues
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
Today, as agreed, we will discuss the current situation in the Russian economy and key trends. Before we move on to the agenda, I will review some macroeconomic indicators.
After a four-month decline, industrial production has returned to the level of 2021.
The industries facing the greatest challenges, such as the car industry and metal production, are gradually recovering.
Agriculture shows good dynamics, with a 4.6 percent increase in January-August.
Construction is also improving. In August, this sector grew by 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year. Such growth in construction should also pull up other related industries and give them an additional impetus.
At the same time, I can note that export-oriented sectors of the economy remain under pressure, primarily those focused on European countries – this is clear and obvious – to countries that have given up Russian supplies and are now forced to overpay for a number of goods, including oil and gas, metals and so on.
In turn, our exporters are switching to other markets. But, of course, this process is not fast, it takes time to build new cooperation and logistics chains.
Next. Inflation continues to decline. Last week it was down to 13.5 percent. By the way, it is 10 percent in the euro area, 10.9 percent in Germany, 17.1 percent in the Netherlands, 22.4 percent in Latvia, 22.5 percent in Lithuania, and 24.2 percent in Estonia, I think.
The budgets in Russia are also being executed steadily. In January-September, the surplus of Russia’s consolidated budget amounted to about 1.4 trillion rubles. At the same time, non-oil and gas revenues in the third quarter were higher than expected, both at the federal and regional levels.
At the same time, I would also like to note some negative trends in the economy.
Consumer demand remains weak. We have talked a lot about this. We are going to discuss it in more detail now. There are nuances here that require our attention.
In August, as in July, retail sales in Russia decreased by 8.8 percent in real terms, and in September, this trend decreased even further. Moreover, in the last week of the month, trade declined even in nominal terms.
As I have already said, we will have to talk about this topic separately. I would like to ask you to report on what you propose to do to ensure the stable operation of the consumer sector and its gradual growth.
I would like to draw the attention of the Government and the Bank of Russia to the need to ensure steady macroeconomic recovery. Colleagues, the overall situation is quite stable, but we have gathered to talk about all of this. It is important to understand that the sanctions pressure on Russia will only increase. We need to have flexible, effective action plans for the short and medium term, and we need to implement them consistently.
Let us discuss all these issues. I give the floor to Mr Reshetnikov. Go ahead, please.