* Retail sales up 2.7 pct y/y in Nov, below f’cast
* Industrial output unexpectedly slumps 3.6 pct in Nov
* Data suggest economic recovery runs out of steam (Adds analyst comments, background)
By Andrey Ostroukh
MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Russia’s economic recovery stalled in November as both retail sales and industrial output, the key indicators to gauge economic growth, missed expectations.
The economy is on the mend after two years of contraction but the pace of recovery has declined approaching the end of the year.
Retail sales — which mirror consumer demand, a big driver — rose 2.7 percent in November compared with a year ago, data from the Federal Statistics Service showed on Tuesday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 3.2 percent compared with the year-ago period.
The news followed another report by the statistics service that showed last Friday that industrial output in November unexpectedly fell 3.6 percent. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected production to shrink by 0.2 percent.
The economy ministry on Tuesday attributed the contraction in the industrial output to Moscow’s agreement with other major oil producers to limit global crude output.
Capital Economics research firm also argued that the drop was mostly due to OPEC cuts reducing oil output. It said most of the weakness in the industrial production was in the manufacturing and the utilities sectors.
“The disappointing batch of Russian activity data for November suggests that GDP growth may be on course to slow to 1.0-1.5 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter,” Capital Economics said.
The central bank said last week it expected the economy to grow by around 1.7 percent this year, voicing a less optimistic forecast than the economy ministry that sees gross domestic product expanding by more than 2 percent this year.
November’s data “leaves no doubt” the economy contracted last month by up to 0.5 percent in annual terms mostly due to the drop in industrial output, said Kirill Tremasov, a former head of macroeconomic forecasting department at the economy ministry.
GDP is likely to return to growth in December but industrial output may extend contraction, Tremasov, head of Moscow International Currency Association’s council, said in his channel on Telegram messaging app. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Additional reporting by Polina Nikolskaya and Zlata Garasyuta; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)