By Andrei Skvarsky.
Consumer sentiment in Russia edged down again in December after going up slightly in November but was only negligibly below its start-of-2015 level, according to polls by Deutsche Boerse-owned intelligence company MNI Indicators.
Pessimists still seriously outnumbered optimists, December’s poll suggested.
In answering the five questions MNI Indicators regularly asks in Russia consumer sentiment polls it has been running monthly since March 2013, the majority of respondents in December’s survey said their current financial situation was worse than a year before, being 4.2% down month-on-month in terms of the company’s measurement system.
Their expectations of their financial situation in three months’ time were 1% down on the month, their willingness to buy big-ticket items showed a decline of 0.7%, and their outlook for overall business conditions in Russia in one year’s time was 2.1% down, the London-based intelligence firm said in a statement.
The answers to only one of the five questions showed an improvement – expectations for overall business conditions in the country for the next five years were 2.5% up month-on-month.
Citing other findings of the survey, MNI Indicators said car sales in Russia had plummeted in 2015, and that there remained high inflationary expectations among the population.
The company said price pressures and the unstable rouble had prevented the central bank from cutting rates at its December meeting.
There was, furthermore, a little more fear of unemployment among Russians in December than the month before.
MNI Indicators’ surveys are computer-aided telephone interviews with urban residents. A minimum of 1,000 people are questioned in cities across Russia every month.
The responses underlie monthly updates of the MNI Russia Consumer Sentiment Indicator, where readings above 100 mean optimists outnumber pessimists, those below 100 mean the opposite is the case, and the 100 level means the two population sections are roughly equivalent.
December’s indicator was revised to 70.1 from November’s 70.8.
“Sentiment is hovering just above record lows, but encouragingly has steadied in recent months and is only 0.7% down since the start of the year,” said MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow.
“It’s low but for now the positive takeaway is that it shows little sign of falling any further, chiming in with evidence from our business survey which has also pointed to a stabilisation.”