In March, the Russian economy remained stagnant. The “short” index of the Financial University was -9.7 points, the “long” index was -1.3 points, the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation reported.
The largest values of the “short” index in March were recorded in the Crimea, Sevastopol, Dagestan, the Penza region and Chechnya. The lowest values of the index are shown by such regions as Kabardino-Balkaria, Samara region, North Ossetia, Kaliningrad region and Krasnodar region.
Note that the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation calculated the index of consumer activity in March 2017. It identifies two components – “short”, reflecting the dynamics of consumer activity and incomes of the population over the past month, as well as “long”, indicating the direction of changes in incomes and economic activity for the next 5-6 months.
As the source notes, following the results of March, the Russian economy presented contradictory signals. On the one hand, cargo loading in the system of Russian Railways has been growing since December 2016, and in March it increased by 3.8%. In the labor market, both the total number of vacancies and vacancies with a high level of pay increased. In the real estate market in terms of supply of apartments and houses, there is an increase in expectations of sellers at the price of objects put up for sale. In the car market there is also an increase in the number of offers in all major price segments. The increase in supply indicates a reduction in the period of use of the car between buying and selling on the secondary market, which, in turn, can mean an increase in the incomes of the population.
In March, the number of those who classified themselves as unemployed decreased noticeably, and the interest of small and medium-sized businesses in the expansion of production and sales outlets, which was reflected in the increased demand for rental of production facilities, increased.
The data of sociological polls in March showed a deterioration in the mood of the population. The share of respondents completely or mostly satisfied with life has decreased, the share of poor citizens has increased, the share of Russians who are confident in their own tomorrow and tomorrow of the enterprise where they work has decreased.
Calculations showed that the “short” index of the Financial University, reflecting today’s consumer activity, in March fell to a value of -9.7, which means a significant decline in consumer activity and, accordingly, household expenditure.
Data from sociological research show that consumer activity in March decreased significantly compared to February indicators in almost all markets. Activity of the population in the market of a food and rest outside of the house has decreased, demand for household appliances of various price categories has noticeably fallen. There was a decline in consumer interest in real estate and vehicles. Together with them, demand for mortgages fell.
Demand for other financial products, services of banks and insurers in general remained stable. In the insurance services market, there has been no significant change in consumer activity. The interest of consumers in savings has decreased somewhat, the demand for loans, on the contrary, has slightly increased. The level of consumer activity in the cash currency market significantly dwindled – in March Russians were not too inclined to buy dollars or euros. The interest of the population in branded high-quality food purchased in retail chains also decreased.