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Russian economy has worst year since global financial crisis

Updated at: 01/25/2016 5:24 AM
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(AP) MOSCOW - MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's economy shrank 3.7 percent in 2015, the worst drop since the depths of the global financial crisis, as the country struggled with a drop in the price of its oil exports and international sanctions, the state statistics service said Monday.

The decline is the sharpest for Russia since 2009, when the world economy was suffering from the effects of a credit crunch and financial crisis. It matched the most recent prediction from the IMF, which forecasts another fall of 1 percent in 2016 before a return to 1 percent growth next year.

The state statistics service also said Monday that last year saw a 10 percent drop in retail sales — including a 15.3 percent plunge in December against a year before — and a one-third drop in foreign trade.

Oil and gas contribute around half of Russian state revenues and the government has said it will have to make cuts to the budget for 2016, which was adopted in October and based on an oil price of $50 per barrel. Brent crude oil traded above $31 a barrel on Monday.

The ruble weakened slightly to around 79 against the dollar in Monday trading, remaining below the record of almost 86 set Thursday.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)