Putin sees positive trends in Russia's economy, warns of lower oil prices

Updated: 2015-12-03 23:32


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Putin sees positive trends in Russia's economy, warns of lower oil prices

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and civil society representatives, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 3, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia's economy has positive trends in sight, but warned of continued downturn of global oil prices.

"The situation is really complicated but I must repeat that it is not critical," Putin said in his annual state of the union address to the Federal Assembly.

Decline in global oil prices and other traditional Russian exports, together with Western sanctions imposed on Russia due to the Ukraine crisis, has restricted the access of Russian financial institutions and companies to world financial markets, said the Russian leader.

He admitted that the situation has brought a negative effect on incomes and living standards of the people, while industries, including construction, production of cars and railway trains, as well as the light industry, have found themselves in a "risk zone."

However, the president believed that positive trends are emerging.

"Industrial production and the exchange rate of the national currency have stabilized in general. There is a visible inflation slowdown and we have noticed a substantial reduction in the capital drain compared to 2014," he said.

Commenting on the global oil market, Putin called on the country to be well prepared for a continued period of low oil prices and external restrictions, saying: "We should not sit idly and wait for oil prices to bounce up ... which will eat away our reserves."

To survive in the global economy which is sharply changing, he promised to stimulate development of competitive companies in all sectors.

"Russia has no right to be vulnerable ... and we have resources for that," he added.

Apart from a weak global oil market, the United States and its Western allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow due to its takeover of Crimea and alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis, which has brought a hard time for Russia's economic development.