9/10/18: Russian Growth, ‘Putin;’s Call’ and the Middle Income Growth Trap

Quick chart showing relative underperformance in the Russian economy in recent years, incorporating latest 2018 forecasts:

The above clearly shows that since 2013, Russian economic growth has statistically underperformed the 'Putin's Call' levels of growth, defined as rates of growth in real GDP achieved during the period after the immediate post-1998 crisis recovery and into 2012, omitting the period of the Global Great Recession impact of 2009. 'Putin's Call' rate of growth is set at around 6% pa, with the 95% confidence interval around this at [2.83, 9.15].

The lower bound of this confidence interval is important. While no one can expect the Russian economy to grow at the 'Putin's Call' levels of 6%, let alone the upper bound levels of 9.15%, Russian economy does require longer-term average growth rates at around 2.8-3%, slightly above the lower bound of the 'Putin's Call'. As of consensus forecasts forward, the economy is expected to expand at around 1.5-1.8 percent pa over 2018-2023, which implies significant cumulative underperformance relative to medium term growth requirement.

Fiscally, structurally lower rates of growth are sustainable for Russia, but socio-politically, Russia needs serious acceleration in its growth rates to offset adverse demographic pressures (rising pensions dependencies) and global economic pressures (much faster growth rates in the Emerging Markets). The lower bound of the 'Putin's Call' and Russian economy's sub-par performance relative to it is a clear illustration of the Middle Income Growth Trap that Russia has entered ca 2010 post-GFC and the Great Recession (see https://www.global-economic-symposium.org/knowledgebase/escaping-the-middle-income-trap for the definition and here http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2015/04/18415-escaping-middle-income-trap.html for discussion. My earlier post on the subject for Russia here: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2014/01/2212014-russia-and-middle-income-trap.html).