Russian economy shrinks 3.7 per cent in 2015

MOSCOW – Russia’s state statistics service says the country’s economy contracted by 3.7 per cent in 2015 compared with the previous year.

Since the middle of 2014, Russia’s economy has staggered because of Western sanctions connected to the annexation of Crimea and the Russia-backed separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, and by the sharp decline in world prices for oil, Russia’s primary export commodity. As of Friday, the ruble has depreciated by 55 per cent since 2014.

In figures cited by the state news agency Tass, the statistics service said economic output in 2015 totalled 80.8 trillion rubles ($1.2 trillion).

The hardest-hit sectors were wholesale and retail, with a 10 per cent year-on-year decline and construction, down 7.4 per cent.

Agriculture, however, showed a 3.1 per cent increase, the report said.