SABMiller has blamed the global economic slowdown for a 1% slip in beer volumes in its third quarter.

The biggest fall came in Russia, where beer volumes dropped 22% for the the three months ended 31 December, SABMiller said in a trading update today (15 January).

Global beer volumes on an organic basis rose by 1% for the quarter, however, and the UK-listed brewer said that results were in-line with its expectations.

It blamed the economic slowdown for damaging consumer confidence and spending power. "Consumer demand has been affected by the current global economic slowdown, and has continued to weaken in many of the group's markets," it said.

Analysts had predicted a difficult quarter for the brewer. Bernstein group said earlier this week that it expected a "lacklustre" performance, with volumes rising 1-2%.

Beer volumes fell by 1% in Europe, while in the US, sales to retailers fell by 2.3% for MillerCoors, the joint-venture between SAB and Molson Coors on the US market. Volumes in China were flat for the quarter.

Some emerging markets provided more positive news on volume growth. Poland and Romania reported increases of 2% and 11% respectively, although the figures represent a slowdown for the latter.

Beer volumes also rose 2% in Latin America, led by Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, which posted gains of 15%, 14% and 6%.