According to the Russian Slon.ru news portal, the Ukrainian economy has been showing stronger growth than that of Russia, according to the official statistics of the two countries. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Ukraine’s GDP did not fall as steeply as Russia’s, and, in the first quarter of 2016, even rose slightly in contrast to the fall of the Russian index. This year, the Russian economy will shrink by 0.2%, the Ministry of Economic Development believes. The World Bank is more pessimistic and forecasts a decline of 1.2%. At the same time it expects an increase of 1% from Ukraine – the same estimate as that from the country’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
It’s difficult to say that the Ukrainian economy is in better shape. First of all, the 0.1% growth from January to March is a preliminary figure and, because of its proximity to zero, still might be revised and reduced. Secondly, the decline of GDP in Ukraine was much deeper and lasted longer than in Russia, and, consequently, the current growth can be attributed to the low base effect. Finally, the Ukrainian economy looks worse according to other indicators: in particular, the growth of consumer prices. Specialists from the Central Bank of Ukraine set a target of 12% for inflation at the end of 2016 (Fitch rating agency considers it achievable). Their Russian colleagues are waiting for 5-6% growth in consumer prices. The level of unemployment in Ukraine in the first quarter was 10.3%; in Russia it was 5.9%. (Uawire/Business World Magazine)