Consumer sentiment in Russia rises steadily but slowly – Deutsche Boerse subsidiary

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Consumer sentiment surveys in Russia by a Deutsche Boerse subsidiary show a steady albeit very slow rise in optimism between February and April.

Other polls by the same subsidiary, intelligence company MNI Indicators, suggest that executives at Russian companies were also increasingly upbeat over the same three months.

The returns of both sets of surveys have led MNI Indicators to a tentative conclusion that Russia is past the worst in its long-term economic decline.

But while April’s business sentiment poll by MNI Indicators suggested there were a little more optimists than pessimists among company executives, pessimists outnumbered optimists by about 30% among ordinary consumers that month.

Consumers were less happy with their current financial situation than in March but expected it to improve within the next year. They were more satisfied with the level of prices, and more willing to buy a car than the month before, MNI Indicators said in a statement.

They were more optimistic than they had been in March about overall business conditions in Russia in a year’s time and within the next five years.

Yet all these improvements in the consumer climate were minute. Although, according to MNI Indicators, in April overall consumer sentiment reached what had been its highest point August 2015, it improved by a mere 2.8% between October and April in terms of metrics used by the firm.

“The third consecutive increase in the MNI Russia Consumer Sentiment Indicator [an index updated monthly on the basis of the surveys] supports the view that the Russian economy could well have turned the corner,” said MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow.

“Still, pessimists outnumber optimists by a significant margin with sentiment down nearly 30% from its peak in August 2013.”

MNI Indicators consumer sentiment surveys for Russia are monthly computer-aided telephone interviews with urban residents across the country. At least 1,000 people, each of whom is selected randomly by a computer, are questioned each month. The polls have been running since March 2013.

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