Aghvan Mikaelyan, member of the board of directors of the audit and consulting network Finexpertiza, shared his opinion on what the economic results of 2023 were and what, in terms of the impact of the economy on reality, we expect from 2024.
– In my opinion, 2023 from an economic point of view turned out to be better than expected. It is enough to see previous forecasts: for example, there was a conversation about two percent GDP growth, and – implicit one. At the end of the year, we face an increase of 3.5%.
This is the main positive part. In addition, all budget expectations have been met, this is also a very important point, especially since Russia has existed for almost two years in a rather complex paradigm. And to fulfill such a volume of social obligations is worth a lot.
The government coped with this. Inflation, of course, turned out to be more than expected. They expected 5.5%, it turns out to reach 7.5%. But at the same time, we liberalized our foreign exchange market, if you remember, the procedure for foreign exchange transactions was very tightly fixed, which allowed the ruble to strengthen excessively. And in this situation there is nothing particularly good, since you need to understand that we buy a lot of things for currency. And a weak ruble in this matter is our assistant.
The number of exports from us also decreased greatly, and the weak ruble in the end also helped replenish our ruble obligations. For this case, we paid off with high inflation. But I wouldn’t dramatize. On the one hand, it seems that the measures that the Central Bank is now taking may look excessive, but I will say again: I, as an economist, argue in line with a peaceful economy. And the logic of a peaceful economy is that the struggle for inflation, taking out money and putting it into a box is not the logic of development, but the logic of preparing for something emergency, unforeseen. The most “unforeseen” thing has happened. And it became clear why we saved up.
And now it is probably not very correct to reason in the same mode. Therefore, I will say that from the point of view of economic development, such a refinancing rate, for example, is nothing at all. But from the point of view of the fact that it is necessary to cool expectations – there is a certain meaning in this. Therefore, I believe that the logic of the development of the Russian economy in 2024 will remain on the trajectory of a special military operation.
In terms of what exactly should be expected… It seems to me that while the special operation continues, serious state injections into the economy will continue, specifically into the defense industry complex, there will be a continuation of its development. The conflict cannot be stopped in one second, and then it will be necessary to replenish stocks.
However, at the same time, grandiose infrastructure construction continues and will continue in Russia, and this is generally incredible: not a single country in such a situation has successfully implemented such large-scale projects!
About expectations – there is a very big uncertainty related to geopolitics. Perhaps very soon it will take just colossal investments, which will need to be directed to the restoration of new regions that are part of Russia. And life shows: after any actions of the special operation format, a very rapid, fantastic economic growth takes place. This has been observed no more than once in many countries. So, if this forecast comes true, then next year it will be possible to see a colossal economic growth, which, it seems to me, can reach two-digit values.