Russia to revise economic forecasts as coronavirus impact bites

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will soon revise forecasts for its economy, as the impact of coronavirus on it will be deeper than originally expected, Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said on Monday.

The economy ministry expected the Russian economy to grow by around 2% in 2020, up from 1.3% last year, before the coronavirus outbreak sent oil prices crashing and caused a sell-off in the Russian rouble and stocks.

Reshetnikov, speaking at the lower house of parliament, said Russia’s previous set of forecasts from January envisaged a recovery in the Chinese economy at the end of the first quarter.

“Now we understand that consequences will be deeper, while no one can probably give clear forecasts about the development of the epidemiological situation,” Reshetnikov said.

Any aftermath of the coronavirus will be of a temporary nature, Reshetnikov said, adding that his ministry will present a new three-year forecast before April 9.

“Our budget system is protected from all external budget shocks, regardless of the economic forecast and a reaction to it.”

Reshetnikov’s words echoed President Vladimir Putin who said on Sunday that Russia found the recently dropped oil prices acceptable, as the coronavirus has spread internationally.

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, Writing by Alexander Marrow and Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by William Maclean