ST PETERSBURG, Russia, May 22 (Reuters) - Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday that the country might avoid sliding into a recession in the second quarter.
"Preliminary macroeconomic data for April shows that the probability of an economic recession is less than 50 percent," Ulyukayev told reporters on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
He had earlier forecast that Russia could slip into recession by the end of June after gross domestic product fell 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of the year.
Ulyukayev said that capital outflows, which reached $63.7 billion in the first quarter, eased last month and that market conditions were now supportive for a planned sale of a 19.5 percent stake in the country's largest oil producer Rosneft
"Privatisation of Rosneft this year is very feasible," he said. (Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Darya Korsunskaya; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)