After posting record-high numbers in December and January, Russia's Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) slipped in February, according to the March 1 report by Markit.
Growth in both output and new orders moderated in February, and although the expansion remained solid, this puts into question the strong start of 2017 for Russia's industry.
"Latest PMI figures signaled a loss of momentum," Senior Economist at Markit Paul Smith commented on the report, while noting that the sector is in good health as business conditions remain above the historic averages and outlook is the brightest since May 2015.
The PMI in the reporting month declined from January's near six-year high of 54.7 to 52.5, lowest in the four months, but still above the 50.0 no-change mark indicating to the improvement of the business conditions in the manufacturing sector.
While both output and new orders continued to grow, the rate of expansion was the weakest seen since September "reflective of the slowdown in growth of the sector as a whole", according to Markit. New orders from abroad remained muted in February, showing a continuous three-and-a-half year decline.
The rate of job creation in February moderated, with slight expansion of workforce numbers seen by Markit as insufficient to alleviate pressures on operating capacity.
Meanwhile, price pressures continued to recede with the rate of input inflation easing to the weakest in four years and manufacturing producers even lowering their own charges for the first time since July 2015.
On the positive side, despite the slowdown in February's growth, manufacturers remained optimistic on output growth in the coming 12 months, with the degree of optimism strengthening to a 21-month high.
The report notes that surveyed panelists expect factors such as improving demand, new long-term contracts and an economic upturn to help boost production.