This week Russia will release October data for industrial production, retail sales and unemployment. GDP growth picked up to 1.7% year-on-year in Q3, up from 0.9% in the previous quarter. This growth was probably flattered by some one-off factors in agriculture and wholesale trade, which means the boost may reverse in Q4. Nonetheless, surveys suggest the underlying trend has improved slightly in recent times. For example, the composite PMI increased to 53.3 in October from an average of 51 in the third quarter. Consensus forecasts point to growth of 1.1% in 2019, accelerating to 1.6% next year. Monetary policy should remain supportive in the next six months or so, as suggested by recent comments from Russia’s central bank officials. The bank has cut rates by 125bps since the end of Q1. In South Africa, recent dismal manufacturing data suggests that economic activity likely stalled in Q3, following a volatile H1 in which output dropped -3.1% and then rebounded 3.1% in quarter-on-quarter annualised terms in Q1 and Q2 respectively. In addition, CPI is expected to decline to 3.9% in October from 4.1% in the previous month, edging towards the lower bound of the central bank’s target range of 3%-6%. The bank faces diverging pressures: weaker growth and contained inflation would justify a more accommodative stance, but likely fiscal slippage ahead limits its room for manoeuvre. At its meeting this week the South African Reserve Bank is expected to keep rates unchanged at 6.5%.