Russia's industrial output picks up unexpectedly in April


Adds detail

MOSCOW, May 22 (Reuters) - Russia's industrial output picked up in April, data showed on Wednesday, in contrast to expectations that sluggish growth would continue in the broadly slowing economy.

The rapid acceleration in industrial output comes amid increased concerns about the quality of Russian economic data, which can send contradictory signals to economists and investors.

The Federal Statistics Service, or Rosstat, said industrial output rose 4.9% year-on-year in April after a 1.2% increase in March. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 1.5% rise.

The discrepancy between expectation and reality comes after first quarter gross domestic product growth missed forecasts, slowing to its weakest level since late 2017 following a far better-than-expected print for the whole of 2018.

The strong industrial output growth was mostly driven by the manufacturing sector, the data showed.

"Higher industrial output growth in April indicates a pick-up in economic activity compared with the weak results of the first quarter," the economy ministry said in comments about the data.

Kirill Tremasov, a former economy ministry official and now head of research at Loko-Invest, said it made little sense to comment on Rosstat's volatile monthly industrial output data, which is occasionally revised.

Rosstat provided the following headline data and sector breakdown:

Headline industry output

April 19

March 19

April 18

yr/yr pct change




mth/mth pct change




Extraction of raw materials

yr/yr pct change




mth/mth pct change





yr/yr pct change




mth/mth pct change




Production and distribution of

electricity, gas

yr/yr pct change




mth/mth pct change




Distribution of water, sewage

yr/yr pct change




mth/mth pct change




NOTE - For key Russian indicators click here 0#ECONALLRU.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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