President Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference December 20, 2018
2933 Views December 20, 2018 6 Comments
December 20, 2018
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends.
Let us begin our traditional end-of-year meeting that we call a news conference.
As always, I will spend just a few brief seconds to sum up the results of the outgoing year. A lot has been said already, but I have the latest data reflecting the most recent results, some just a couple of days old.
In the first nine months of 2018, GDP increased by 1.7 percent, while the Economic Development Ministry expects the annual increase to total 1.8 percent. Industrial output was growing at a faster pace, totalling 2.9 percent in the first ten months of 2018, with the annual results expected at 3 percent, up from a 2.1 percent growth in 2017. In addition, processing industries have been growing at a somewhat faster pace of 3.2 percent.
In the first three quarters fixed capital investment increased by 4.1 percent. Cargo shipments and retail trade are on the rise, having increased by 2.6 percent. Consumer demand growth has been apparent. This is a positive factor. After a lengthy interval, the population’s real income has shown some, albeit very moderate, growth. According to the latest statistics, real incomes will increase by 0.5 percent. I hope that this momentum will be maintained, since real pay levels are on the rise, having grown by 7.4 percent in the first nine months, which is expected to give us 6.9 or 7 percent by the end of the year.
Inflation remains at an acceptable level, although it has increased a little in the past week, by 0.5 percent, I think. Therefore, we will be able to reach the Central Bank’s reference rate of 4 percent and will have an inflation rate of 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent – somewhere just over 4 percent.
The unemployment rate is going down, which is good news. If last year it hit a historical low of 5.2 percent, this year it will be even lower – 4.8 percent.
The trade balance surplus is growing. In 2017, if you remember, it was around $115 billion. Over the three quarters of this year we already achieved $157 million. As of the end of the year, we expect it to reach $190 billion.
Our finances are growing stronger. Our gold and foreign currency reserves have grown by over 7 percent. In the early 2018, they amounted to $432 billion while now they stand at almost $464 billion.
For the first time since 2011, we will have a budget surplus. We are about to reach the federal budget surplus of 2.1 percent of the GDP. The National Welfare Fund has grown by around 22 percent.
The average annual insurance component of the retirement pension stood at 13,677 rubles in 2017. By the end of this year, it will be 14,163 rubles.
Life expectancy has also increased slightly compared to 2017, from 72.7 to 72.9 years.
These are the general results that I wanted to mention in the beginning. Let’s not waste our time and proceed to your questions and my attempts to answer them. (…)