Russia's 2012 growth slows to 3.4%: official

Russia's state statistics agency Thursday showed the country's economy growing by 3.4 percent last year, a fraction lower than the estimate given by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Rosstat agency said the economy faded in the last quarter of 2012 because of poor results in the drought-striken agricultural sector.

A poor harvest limited the sector to just 3.8-percent growth last year, down sharply from the 16.9-percent expansion seen in 2011.

Medvedev told the Davos forum last week that the Russian economy gained 3.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 -- the figure he received from the economic development ministry and one forecast earlier by President Vladimir Putin.

The growth figures came at the lower end of Russia's initial 3.5 to 4.0 percent estimate.

Russia's economy grew by 4.3 percent in 2011 and Putin has set 4.5 percent growth as the country's general target.

Russia's Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach has forecast growth to be limited to just two percent in the first half of 2013 before reaching more than four percent in year-on-year terms over the third and fourth quarters.