Russia’s economy expands by 0.8%

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Moscow - Russia's economy grew by 0.8 percent from April to June compared with output during the same period last year, a preliminary estimate by Russia's statistics committee showed on Monday.

The figure is lower than a 1.2-percent growth forecast reported by Russia's economy minister last month, and slightly less than the 0.9-percent annualised pace recorded in the first quarter.

The Rosstat state statistics service did not provide a quarterly figure.

The economy minister warned earlier that Russia could slip into recession, commonly defined as two successive quarters of economic contraction.

Russia's economy was already expected to slow from last year's disappointing growth figure of 1.3 percent, the lowest reading since the 2009 global financial crisis, before Western powers unleashed punishing sanctions last month in response to Moscow's defiant stance on Ukraine.

The United States has prohibited three leading Russian banks from raising anything but short-term funding on US markets.

The European Union also began imposing so-called sector sanctions, crimping access of Russian state-controlled banks to European capital markets.

After the economy minister said he expected growth to reach 1.2 percent from April to June, the government said it planned to raise its annual forecast from 0.5 to around 1.0 percent.

But in late July the International Monetary Fund slashed its estimate by 1.1 points to just 0.2 percent growth. - Sapa-AFP

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