Russian Retail, Property, Energy Sectors Are Taking Coronavirus Hit, Putin Says
Russian retail sales have plunged 35% so far in April and energy use was down, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, offering the first glimpse of the fallout of the coronavirus lockdown in the country.
The number of new mortgages in Russian banks fell sharply in the first week of April, while energy usage was down 5%, Mr. Putin said. Moscow and other regions have introduced lockdowns in recent weeks as the number of coronavirus cases has risen at a fast clip.
“This shows how sharply, how fast, the market has contracted,” Mr. Putin said at a government meeting. “The most sensitive problem for companies–both in our country and in other countries–is the reduction in demand.”
Russian officials have forecast that the economy could contract by as much as 5% this year due to the fallout of the pandemic and the decline in oil prices. The government has allocated around $18 billion to battle the pandemic and support the economy.