Europe

Putin says Russian economy is on the mend

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives a hall for his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives a hall for his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the nation's economy is on the path to recovery.

Speaking at an annual end-of-year news conference Friday, Putin said the Russian economy is expected to shrink by 0.6-0.7 percent this year — a much smaller decline compared to 2015 when it contracted by 3.7 percent.

Russia is enduring a deep recession in the wake of Western sanctions and the sharp drop in oil prices.

Putin said some sectors have posted growth this year, showing that the Russian economy is on the mend.

Despite the economic backdrop, Putin said hard currency reserves of the Russian Central Bank increased this year, from $368 billion to about $385 billion.