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Swedbank economist Nerijus Maciulis: impact of Russian economy on Lithuania over-dramatized

Nerijus Mačiulis
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Nerijus Mačiulis
Šaltinis: BNS
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The media are over-dramatizing Russia's first-half economic slowdown and the effect it may have on Lithuanian producers, Nerijus Maciulis, the chief economist at Swedbank, said on Wednesday.

„Russia's economic growth, at 3-4 percent in recent years, almost ground to a halt in the first half. This fact has provoked a stormy reaction from economists and the media, which can be described as an over-dramatization of the situation. Yes, the Russian economy has stumbled, but it is not at the edge of an abyss,“ he said on a comment.

Russia's macro-economic indicators give no grounds for concern, Maciulis said.

„Russia's debt stands at just 10 percent of the gross domestic product and is among the lowest in the world. Even with the fall in oil prices, Russia's budget remains balanced this year and its current account surplus, albeit narrowing, still amounts to 3 percent of GDP. The unemployment level has been on the decline in the past four years and is just over 5 percent,“ he said.

Russia is a key trade partner of Lithuania, but this is only at first glance. Therefore, its economic slowdown may not have as big an impact as some expect, the economist said.

„Even though Russia accounts for nearly one-fifth of Lithuania's total exports and is Lithuania's main trade partner based on this indicator, the bulk of goods exported to Russia are re-exports rather than Lithuanian-made products. Russia accounts for less than 5 percent of the export of Lithuanian-origin goods and, based on this indicator, is a much less important country for us,“ he said.

Maciulis added that restrictions imposed on Lithuanian exports to Russia could pose a greater threat.

BNS
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