By Andrei Skvarsky.
Barometric monthly surveys by a Deutsche Boerse subsidiary suggest that overall business sentiment in Russia edged up in February but that pessimists still outnumbered optimists among company executives and that production had plummeted by one-fifth month-on-month.
Companies across the economy were, moreover, gloomier about the next three months than they were in January, the MNI Indicators intelligence company said in a statement, citing February’s iteration of its MNI Russia Business Sentiment survey.
By and large, the depreciation of the rouble was hurting companies, though one might have expected it to benefit exports.
“There is scant evidence that companies are benefiting from the rouble weakness. In contrast, most are facing higher production costs and also increased cost of borrowing both domestically and overseas,” said MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow.
The small general rise in business optimism – there were still 14% pessimists than optimists – “masks weakness” in key specific parts of the survey, he said.
While upbeat sentiments were 4.1% up month-on-month in February in terms of MNI Indicators’ system of metrics, production was 19% down, hitting the lowest mark in the three-year history of the survey project. The availability of new orders had dropped by 5.1%, and that of export orders slid by 1.2%.
Input prices were 0.5% up month-on-month while prices received stayed unchanged.
The MNI Russia Business Sentiment surveys, launched in March 2013, are monthly polls of Russian executives at around 200 companies listed on Moscow Exchange – a mix of manufacturing, service, construction and agricultural firms. The polls are computer-aided telephone interviews.