Business sentiment in Russia falls ‘sharply’ – Deutsche Boerse intel arm

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Deutsche Boerse’s intelligence arm, citing monthly surveys, says Russia’s business community sank back into pessimism in January after a rise in optimism in December.

MNI Indicators, a company owned by the Frankfurt-based bourse, said in a statement a measurement system used by it showed overall business sentiment in Russia to have been down 16.1% year-on-year in January as low oil prices and a consequent depreciation of the rouble kept bedevilling the country

It was still above the lowest point recorded in the history of MNI Russia Business Sentiment surveys, monthly polls of Russian business executives launched by MNI Indicators in March 2013.

December’s poll produced roughly as many optimistic as pessimistic returns. In January, however, pessimists significantly outnumbered the optimists.

The weakening of the rouble was causing companies more pain in January than ever before in the surveys’ history, loans were much more difficult to obtain than the month before, and respondents had gloomy three-month expectations for their company’s business and for overall business conditions in Russia, MNI Indicators said.

On a slightly happier note, there appeared to be an improvement in the job market, there being roughly as many positive as negative assessments of the employment situation, according to the London-headquartered intelligence firm.

“The latest survey showed business sentiment falling sharply as concerns over the weakness of the Russian rouble mounted and credit channels tightened further,” said MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow.

“It’s no secret that Russia’s fortunes are tied to the oil price and it’s difficult to see things improving unless we see a recovery in prices and stabilisation in the currency.”

MNI Russia Business Sentiment polls are computer-aided telephone interviews with executives in manufacturing, service, construction and agricultural companies listed on Moscow Exchange. A total of around 200 firms are surveyed in this way each month.

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