By Andrei Skvarsky.
A Deutsche Börse-owned think tank says consumer confidence in Russia went up in January after slumping late last year but expresses suspicion that the upturn will be short-lived.
But the current Winter Olympics in Sochi were the likeliest reason for consumer optimism rising for the second consecutive month in January to the highest level since October, while Russians are still very worried about prices, and even more so about unemployment, MNI said in a statement citing a survey by its division MNI Indicators.
Negative sentiment still predominated, though only slightly, and there was more optimism about the present – with respondents being better off financially and more willing to buy a large household durable than before – than about the future.
The MNI Russia Consumer Indicator, an index based on the poll, rose to 99.3 in January from 95.7 in December – the indicators are scales where the 100 mark means the positive and negative answers are equal in number, values above 100 represent the predominance of positive and those below 100 the predominance of negative answers.
MNI Indicators surveys involve telephone interviews.
MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow said it was likely that consumer sentiment “was given a short-term boost by the Sochi Olympics”, while “concerns over prices and employment remain, with the latter worsening significantly”.
Respondents expected prices to rise by between 11% and 24% in a year’s time.
According to another MNI Indicators survey, business confidence among some of Russia’s largest companies also surged in January, and Uglow likewise largely attributed this to the Sochi Olympics.