Russian economy ministry lowers 2020 inflation, GDP growth forecasts

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Presidental Palace in Helsinki, Finland, August 21, 2019. Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian economy ministry has revised a set of key economic forecasts, lowering its economic growth and inflation projections for 2020, the ministry’s data showed on Monday.

The revision came hours after President Vladimir Putin described Russia’s economic growth as insufficient, telling the head of the central bank and top government officials to come up with ways to boost growth in real incomes.

The economy ministry kept is 2019 gross domestic product growth forecast at 1.3% but lowered its 2020 forecast to 1.7% growth from 2.0%.

Less than two weeks before the central bank’s rate-setting meeting, the ministry also lowered its 2019 inflation forecast to 3.8% from 4.3% and revised its 2020 inflation assessment to 3.0% from 3.8%. The central bank aims to keep inflation near its 4% target.

The economy ministry now expects the rouble exchange rate to average 65.4 versus the U.S. dollar this year and 65.7 in 2020. Previously, the ministry forecast the rouble to average 65.1 in 2019 and 64.9 in 2020.

On Monday, the rouble hovered at around 66 against the greenback RUBUTSTN=MCX.

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Peter Graff