Russian economy shrinks 1.9% in first quarter

Russia's economy shrank 1.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, the country's federal statistics service said on Wednesday.

The drop in the January-March period marked the fourth consecutive quarter of economic decline. But the contraction was smaller than the 2.7 percent drop posted for October-December.

The service said wholesale trade marked a slump of 10.8 percent followed by retail commerce, down 7.3 percent. The mining sector, which includes production of oil and natural gas, shrank 3.3 percent.

Analysts attribute the declines to the impact of Western sanctions imposed in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as well as continuing sluggish consumer spending.

Construction, however, grew 8.8 percent and agriculture was up 2.9 percent.