Russia's industrial activity plunges

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Russia's industrial production plunged beyond expectations in November, fresh evidence that the economy may be entering a recession that will be deeper than previously feared.

Output fell a stunning 10.8 percent from October to November, an official from the Federal Statistics Service's press office said Tuesday. Production contracted 8.7 percent in November from the same month last year, marking the biggest falls since the 1998 financial crash.

Manufacturers have been strangled by choked credit markets and plunging demand for commodities, particularly metals.

"This is extremely important," said Anton Stroutchenevski, an economist at Troika Dialog in Moscow. "These figures indicate the competitiveness of the Russian economy. It is the start of the economic chain reaction," he said, suggesting the pain will spread from manufacturers to other sectors in the economy.

Metal producers, particularly steel plants, have slashed production and laid off large numbers of workers. Construction projects in Moscow have stalled. Some truck and car producers plan temporary shutdowns at their Russian factories.

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