MNI Indicators: Consumer sentiment in Russia up slightly but still low

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Surveys by MNI Indicators, a research arm of Deutsche Boerse, suggest that consumer sentiment in Russia remained quite low in February but that on the whole consumers were a wee bit more optimistic than in January.

Responses obtained in monthly iterations of the MNI Russia Consumer Sentiment Survey over the past few months suggest that Russia’s economic woes, which are mainly caused by the low oil prices and the Western anti-Russian sanctions, have bottomed out but that the country’s future remains uncertain, according to a statement from MNI Indicators.

The statement said 2.3% more respondents in February’s poll than in January’s survey complained that their current financial situation had deteriorated year-on-year.

There were, moreover, 3.2% more responses in February’s poll than in January’s iteration that expressed pessimistic expectations about overall business conditions in Russia one year from now.

At the same time, there was slightly more optimism in February about the general business situation in the country in five years’ time, and 7.5% more respondents in February’s survey than in January’s poll expected their personal financial status to improve in a year’s time.

The proportion of respondents in January’s survey who expected to be better off financially in a year’s time was 12.1% smaller than in December’s survey.

Also, some more respondents said during February’s survey that they were prepared to buy big-ticket items.

MNI Indicators questions at least 1,000 urban residents across Russia in its surveys, which were launched in March 2013 and are telephone interviews with each interviewee selected randomly by computer.

The polls result in monthly updates of an index called MNI Russia Consumer Sentiment Indicator.

“Russian consumer confidence continued to move sideways in February with the MNI Russia Consumer Sentiment Indicator up slightly but still close to record lows,” said MNI chief economist Philip Uglow.

 “The rise in the oil price might go some way to reduce pessimism, but it would likely take a sustained increase to help to reverse Russia’s woes.”

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