The meeting was attended by Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
As per tradition, we will discuss the current economic situation and the measures that will allow us to improve its stability and reach higher growth levels, something we keep talking about.
It is important that industrial production is showing outperformance: in the past eight months, industrial growth was 3.1 percent, with the processing industry growing by 3.8 percent.
Investment behavior is another key to the future. As of the first six months of 2018, fixed capital investments in enterprises and companies has grown by 3.2 percent. The transport cargo turnover is also growing (by 3 percent in the past eight months), as well as retail business (by 2.7 percent).
These are important indicators of both business activity and the consumer demand of Russian families.
Inflation and unemployment have been consistently low. In August, the unemployment rate was down to 4.6 percent and today it is at a record low.
In September, the annualised price growth was estimated at 3.4 percent. It picked up slightly in the course of the past month, but it is still within target values.
The financial market remains stable, partially due to the joint actions of the Government and the Central Bank. Since the beginning of this year, our foreign currency reserves have increased by 5.7 percent and are now estimated at $459 billion.
In short, the key parameters of the Russian economy show that the overall picture is positive.
At the same time, I would also like to say once again that our systemic goal is to speed up economic growth, support investment activities, stimulate the development of manufacturing industries, small and medium-sized businesses and non-resource-based high-tech exports, and improve Russian citizens’ salaries and real income growth.
There is a positive trend here, too: between January and August 2018, people’s real disposable incomes grew by 2.2 percent compared with the same time period of 2017, while real wages grew by 8.4 percent.
As always, we specify that this trend is not reflected in every sector of the economy, and varies from region to region; however, in general, a positive trend is in place.
So today, let us go in detail over the steps to be taken to address the challenges that I have just mentioned.