The latest IMF forecasts predict GDP growth for nearly all countries in the CIS region this year. The rates of growth, however, are expected to vary much across countries. Low oil prices in recent years have depressed growth in energy-producing countries with knock-on effects to neighbour countries. Weakness in the Russian economy, for example, has spilled over to Belarus, which trades considerably with Russia (48 % of Belarussian exports went to Russia in 2016). From other energy-producing countries in the region, particularly Azerbaijan's economic development has been weak.
Ukraine has recovered somewhat from its economic crisis. Growth has still been sluggish, especially taking into account that the level of 2016 GDP was about 14 % lower than in 2012.
Even with crude oil accounting for over half of its exports, Kazakhstan has managed in recent years to sustain a moderate GDP growth despite low oil prices. Kazakhstan has benefited from the recovery in many EU economies, China's high growth and increased global demand for commodities. Last year about 19 % of Kazakhstan's exports went to Italy, 12 % to China, 10 % to the Netherlands and 10 % to Russia. Central Asian countries have benefited from China's rapid growth and more recently the recovery in Russia.
Annual GDP growth in selected countries of the CIS region, %
Source: IMF WEO.