On the whole, the Ministry of Economic Development assesses the results of 2018 as positive. According to the data by the Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation (Rosstat), the GDP growth rate accelerated to 2.3% in 2018, compared to 1.6% in 2017. The growth rate exceeded both the projections of the Ministry based on real-time data and the market consensus forecast. Compared to the previous year, there was a growth in manufacturing (2.9% in 2018 against 2.1% in 2017) and processing industries (2.6% in 2018 against 2.5% in 2017). Production volumes in key non-commodity sectors such as food industry, chemicals, and wood processing, are also growing.
The contribution of Russian exports of goods and services to GDP growth is increasing. As regards non-commodity exports, volumes of exports of agricultural products, inorganic chemicals, and machinery continue to grow. This indicates a high competitiveness of domestic products on global markets. These positive tendencies are largely the result of the structural macroeconomic reforms carried out in recent years. The authors of the report note that the fundamental principles of macroeconomic policy, such as floating exchange rate, inflation targeting, fiscal rule and a related mechanism for transactions on the foreign exchange market, ensure the stability of key internal variables in unstable external economic conditions. Greater stability and a more predictable macroeconomic environment help the Ministry concentrate on middle-term development agenda.
The Ministry of Economic Development names accelerating the rate of economic growth to at least 3% annually as its main objective for the coming few years. Reaching this objective will not only let the Ministry achieve the tasks set in the May Decree of the President, i.e. to ensure economic growth rates exceeding international rates and take Russia into the top five largest economies by purchasing power parity, but also lay the foundation for achieving related socio-economic goals, such as technology modernization, increasing non-commodity exports, and raising the living standards of the population. To meet existing challenges, including low investment activity, stagnated growth of labor productivity, and increasingly unfavorable demographic trends, the Government has developed a number of national and federal projects, as well as other economic policies.
The Ministry has divided its objectives for the coming years into the following four main groups: