MNI Indicators: Russian consumers gloomier in September than in August

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Monthly polls by intelligence company MNI Indicators, part of the Deutsche Boerse group, suggest that in September Russian consumers had the greatest pessimism about the current economic situation in their country since the firm launched its surveys in March 2013.

This gloominess, which MNI Indicators mainly attributes to cheap oil, contrasted with the general sentiment among Russian companies – the latter, according to an MNI Indicators survey, were slightly more upbeat about the overall business environment in Russia in September than they had been in August.

Consumers were also pessimistic about the general business conditions in a year’s time, the London-based intelligence firm said in a report on September’s poll.

They had the gloomiest outlook for the job market since March 2913. A “record proportion” were anxious about their future finances, it said.

A “record” 79.3% of respondents thought prices were too high, and almost a third of those questioned expected them to increase by more than 25% over the next year. Willingness to make big-ticket purchases “hit a record low”. Fewer consumers than before would have been willing to buy a car because of the high cost of maintenance and a general decline in purchasing power.

MNI Indicators questions at least 1,000 people in cities across Russia in its consumer sentiment polls, which are conducted through telephone interviews with each interviewee selected randomly by computer.

“There’s nothing positive to take from the September survey,” said MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow. “Consumer sentiment is back close to a record low with respondents concerned about the outlook for finances, the economy and job prospects.”

“It’s interesting to compare the increasingly pessimistic views of consumers with the recent improvement in our sister business sentiment survey. The conclusion appears to be that consumers are shouldering the majority of the slowdown in Russia,” Uglow said.

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