Russian minister says expects growth of 1 percent or more in 2017: newspaper


BERLIN (Reuters) - Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told a German newspaper he expected Russian economic growth to be zero in August after gross domestic product there declined by 0.7 percent in April.


"I think we'll reach the zero line in August. We're registering slow but positive dynamism," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.


Ulyukayev said the forecast for Russian full-year growth was -0.2 percent but he expected it to be a bit better and perhaps come in just above zero before pulling off a growth rate of 1 percent or more in 2017, saying he expected a 1 before the decimal point.


He said Western sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis had exerted a "strong influence" on Russian growth but the situation was now better, thanks partly to oil and gas prices rising again.


"We're not happy with the sanctions but they're not having any major macroeconomic impact anymore," Ulyukayev said.

Asked about the government's plans to privatize state-owned companies, he said it wanted to complete the first sales this year.

"It will be a listed stock corporation like the oil company Bashneft <BANE.MM> or Alrosa <ALRS.MM>, the world's biggest diamond miner," he said.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Caroline Copley and Alison Williams)