Russian exports have suffered a blow following the country's annexation of Crimea and its alleged involvement in supporting pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, MNI Indicators, a macroeconomic data provider shows. According to MNI's system – where scores of more than 50 indicate expansion and those less than 50 indicate contraction – April indicators for export orders fell from 48.3 to 44.4, the lowest level since MNI began tracking them in March 2013. The inventories indicator recorded an even steeper decline, from 40.4 in March to 32.2 in April. Meanwhile, the overall business indicator rose to 55.6, compared with 52.5 in March, but this was down from the 62.9 recorded in April 2013.
“Sentiment improved a little in April following the initial hit to business confidence from the fallout in Ukraine in March. Still, the detail of the survey shows exports at the weakest since the [MNI] series began a year ago,” Philip Uglow, chief economist for MNI Indicators, said of the survey results. “Growth contracted in the first quarter [of 2014], raising the spectre that Russia will fall into recession in the second quarter. With little sign of tensions easing in Ukraine, Russia risks being frozen out with little or no economic growth this year."
In April 2014, the International Monetary Fund cut the country's GDP forecast for 2014 from 1.3% to just 0.2%, citing Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. It was the second downward revision to occur within the month and the country's fourth in a row. In May, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also altered its forecast for Russian growth, from 2.3% to 0.5%.
“The moderate recovery that was under way at the end of 2013 has been halted by the turbulence related to the events in Ukraine. Associated increased uncertainties and capital flight are now weighing on investor confidence,” OECD experts wrote in the most recent report on the Russian economy.