Wednesday February 22 2017
Russia Jobless Rate At 8-Month High Of 5.6% In January
Federal State Statistics Service | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in Russia increased to 5.6 percent in January of 2017 from 5.3 percent in December and well above market expectations of 5.6 percent. It was the highest jobless rate since May 2016.

The number of unemployed people increased by 185 thousand to 4.288 million. Compared to January of 2016, the number decreased by 140 thousand.    

The number of economically active people decreased by 100 thousand to 75.9 million, representing 52 percent of total population. Compared to January of 2016, the figure increased by 100 thousand. 

Real wages increased 3.1 percent year-on-year, following an upwardly revised 2.8 percent rise in December and beating market expectations of 2.1 percent. It was the biggest increase since April 2014. Nominal wages went up 8.3 percent to RUB 35,650 (at the same pace as in December) and real disposable income jumped 8.1 percent, following a 6.4 percent drop in December.




Friday February 10 2017
Russia Trade Surplus Widens 4.7% YoY In December
Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Russian trade surplus increased by 4.7 percent to $11.83 billion in December 2016 from $11.3 billion in the same month a year earlier, well above market expectations of a $9.85 billion surplus. Exports rose 8.3 percent, the second consecutive monthly increase since July 2014; and imports went up 10.6 percent, the fifth month in a row of growth. Considering the full 2016, the trade surplus shrank 39.1 percent to $90.4 billion from $148.5 billion in 2015, as exports fell 17.5 percent and imports declined at a much slower 0.8 percent.

Exports increased by 8.3 percent to $31.1 billion from $28.7 billion in December 2015. It was the highest level since March 2015 and second annual rise since July 2014, as exports to non-CIS countries advanced 10.4 percent (from 6.4 percent in November) while those to CIS countries fell 3.8 percent (from -3 percent). Imports went up 10.6 percent to $19.3 billion from $17.4 billion a year earlier, marking the fifth consecutive month of gains. Imports from non-CIS countries climbed 10.5 percent (from 6.1 percent in November) and those from CIS countries advanced by 11.5 percent (from 9.3 percent).

The trade surplus with non-CIS countries rose 10.1 percent to $9.8 billion from $8.9 billion a year ago while with CIS countries it fell 15.2 percent to $2.1 billion from $2.4 billion.

Considering the full 2016, the trade surplus shrank 39.1 percent to $118.3 billion from $148.5 billion in the same period of 2015, as exports fell 17.5 percent to $281.8 billion and imports declined at a much slower 0.8 percent to $191.4 billion.




Monday February 06 2017
Russia Inflation Rate At New 4-1/2-Year Low Of 5%
Federal State Statistics Service | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Russia increased 5 percent year-on-year in January of 2017, following 5.4 percent rise in the previous month and below market expectations of 5.1 percent. It was the lowest inflation rate since June 2012, as prices increased at a slower pace for food; clothing and footwear; furnishings and household equipment and recreation and cultural activities. On a monthly basis, prices went up 0.6 percent, compared to 0.4 percent rise in December.

Prices rose at a slower pace for food (3.9 percent from 4.2 percent in December); clothing and footwear (7 percent from 7.4 percent); recreation and culture (2.2 percent from 4.1 percent); furnishings and household equipment (4.7 percent from 5.3 percent); and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (8.5 percent from 8.6 percent). Meanwhile, transport inflation rate accelerated to 6.1 percent from 5.6 percent and housing and utilities edged up to 5.3 percent from 5.2 percent.

Annual core inflation rate declined to 5.5 percent from 6 percent in December.

On a monthly basis, prices went up 0.6 percent. Main upward pressure came from: food (1 percent); housing and utilities (0.4 percent); transport (1.1 percent); and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.6 percent). 




Friday February 03 2017
Russia Leaves Key Rate Steady At 10%
Central Bank of the Russian Federation | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The Central Bank of Russia kept its benchmark one-week repo rate unchanged at 10 percent on February 3rd, as widely expected, and signaled the possibility of further cuts in the first half of 2017 has diminished, given the internal and external developments. Policymakers said that inflation performance has been in line with the forecast, inflation expectations were going down gradually, and the economy was recovering faster than previously expected.

Information Notice of Bank of Russia:

Inflation. Annual inflation continues to decline in line with the Bank of Russia’s forecast. This is partially attributed to temporary factors — the ruble exchange rate and last year’s heavy crop. December saw a further slowdown in growth of prices for staple goods and services, as well as lower monthly inflation (seasonally adjusted). Domestic demand continues to exert a disinflationary effect. Households are retaining their savings behaviour model, although their sentiment improved. Consumer lending bears no inflation risks. The Bank of Russia’s forecast suggests that given today’s decision and extension of moderately tight monetary policy, annual inflation is to slow down to the 4% target by late 2017 and hold close to this level in the sequel.

Monetary conditions. In order to maintain the propensity to save and anchor sustainable inflation slowdown driven by demand-side restrictions, monetary conditions should remain moderately tight. They should also help bring inflation expectations of households and businesses further down. Positive real interest rates will be held at the level which will ensure demand for loans without increasing inflationary pressure and uphold incentives for saving. 

Economic activity. Economic recovery in 2016 was somewhat above the Bank of Russia’s expectations, as the average annual oil price was close to the baseline scenario assumptions. The Bank of Russia estimates that quarterly GDP growth rates entered positive territory in the second half of 2016, with the positive trend set to hold into the first quarter of the current year. Growth in industrial production (partially driven by import substitution) is ongoing, and so is expansion of non-oil and gas exports in several categories; investment activity is gradually perking up. The labour market is adjusting to the new economic environment, with signs beginning to emerge that skilled labour shortages are finding their way in individual segments. The Bank of Russia’s estimates signal that the observed annual rise in real wages will foster gradual growth in consumer activity. It will come without additional proinflationary pressure amid a rise in supply of goods and services. Annual GDP is expected to show positive growth in 2017; however, the rates of economic growth will be low. It takes structural improvements and time for the positive trends to advance and become sustainable.

Inflation risks. Risks remain that inflation will be above the target level of 4% in 2017; inflation risks are abating on a mid-term horizon. The inertia of inflation expectations and households’ shrinking propensity to save may prevent inflation from consolidating on the path towards the target as the effect of temporary factors comes to an end. External political and economic uncertainty remains elevated, which may negatively affect expectations as regards exchange rate and inflation. Maintenance of moderately tight monetary conditions will constrain inflation risks, including the short-term ones, coming from the launch of purchase of foreign currency in the FX market. The application of the transitional budget rule, accompanied with purchases/sales of foreign currency will help lower the dependence of the Russian economy, particularly in terms of monetary conditions and inflation dynamics, on fluctuating oil prices. In the medium term, the application of the budget rule will help bring about macroeconomic stability and more predictable and steadier interest rates in the economy.




Wednesday January 25 2017
Russia Jobless Rate Edges Dow To 5.3%
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in Russia declined to 5.3 percent in December of 2016 from 5.4 percent in November and below market expectations of 5.4 percent.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 11 thousand to 4.103 million in December of 2016. Meanwhile, the number of economically active people increased by 200 thousand to 76.9 million, representing 52 percent of total population. 

Real wages increased 2.4 percent year-on-year in December of 2016, following an upwardly revised 2.1 percent rise in November and beating market expectations of 1.6 percent. Nominal wages went up 7.9 percent to RUB 47,054 (+8 percent in November) while real disposable income declined 6.1 percent, following a 6 percent drop in November.


Monday January 16 2017
Russian Trade Surplus Widens Unexpectedly In November
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Russian trade surplus increased by 2.2 percent to $9.14 billion in November 2016 from $8.94 billion in the same month a year earlier, well above market expectations of a $7.6 billion surplus. Exports rose 4.9 percent, the first increase since July 2014; and imports went up 6.4 percent, the fourth consecutive month of growth.

Exports increased by 4.9 percent to an eleven-month high of $26.65 billion from $25.40 billion in November 2015. It was the first annual rise since July 2014, as exports to non-CIS countries advanced 6.4 percent (from -6.7 percent in October) while those to CIS countries fell 3 percent (from -12.3 percent). Imports went up 6.4 percent to $17.51 billion from $16.46 billion a year earlier, marking the fourth consecutive month of gains. Imports from non-CIS countries climbed 6.1 percent (from +8.7 percent in October) and those from CIS countries advanced by 9.3 percent (from +4.5 percent).

The trade surplus with non-CIS countries rose 7 percent to $7.26 billion from $6.79 billion a year ago while with CIS countries it fell 13.1 percent to $1.87 billion from $2.16 billion.

Considering the first eleven months of the year, the trade surplus shrank 42.7 percent to $78.59 billion from $137.21 billion in the same period of 2015, as exports fell 19.8 percent to $250.70 billion and imports declined at a much slower 1.9 percent to $172.11 billion.


Tuesday January 10 2017
Russia Inflation Rate Confirmed At 5.4% In December
Federal State Statistics Service | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Russia increased 5.4 percent year-on-year in December of 2016, following 5.8 percent rise in the previous month and in line with preliminary estimates. It was the lowest inflation rate since June 2012, as prices increased at a slower pace for food, housing and utilities, clothing and footwear and recreation and cultural activities. On a monthly basis, prices went up 0.4 percent, at the same pace as in November.

Prices rose at a slower pace for food (+4.2 percent from +5 percent in November); housing and utilities (+5.2 percent from +5.3 percent); clothing and footwear (+7.4 percent from +7.6 percent); recreation and culture (+4.1 percent from +6 percent); furnishings and household equipment (+5.3 percent from +5.6 percent); and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (+8.6 percent from +8.7 percent). Meanwhile, transport inflation rate accelerated to 5.6 percent from 5.4 percent in November. 

Annual core inflation rate declined to 6.0 percent from 6.2 percent in November.

On a monthly basis, prices went up 0.4 percent. Main upward pressure came from: food (+0.7 percent); housing and utilities (+0.1 percent); transport (+0.5 percent); clothing (+0.4 percent); furnishings (+0.3 percent); restaurants and hotels (+0.3 percent); and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (+0.4 percent). 


Friday December 30 2016
Russia Inflation Rate Lowest Since June 2012
Federal State Statistics Service | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Russia increased 5.4 percent year-on-year in December of 2016, following 5.8 percent rise in the previous month and below market expectations of 5.6 percent. It was the lowest inflation rate since June 2012, according to preliminary estimates. A year ago inflation was recorded at 12.9 percent.

Prices rose at a slower pace for food (+4.6 percent from +5.2 percent in November); non-food (+6.5 percent from +6.7 percent) and services (+4.9 percent from 5.3 percent).

On a monthly basis, prices went up 0.4 percent, at the same pace as in November.


Monday December 19 2016
Russia Jobless Rate Matches Expectations In November
Federal State Statistics Service | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Russian unemployment rate decreased to 5.4 percent in November of 2016 compared to 5.8 percent a year ago and in line with market expectations. In the previous month, the jobless rate was recorded at 5.4 percent.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 321 thousand to 4.114 million in November of 2016. Meanwhile, the number of economically active increased by 0.1 million to 76.7 million (52 percent of population).

Nominal wages rose 7.6 percent year-on-year to an average RUB 361105. Real pay went up 1.7 percent, following 0.4 percent growth in the previous month and below market expectations of 2 percent. Real disposable income decreased 5.6 percent, compared to 6 percent in October.


Friday December 16 2016
Russia Holds Key Rate at 10%
Central Bank of the Russian Federation | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The Central Bank of Russia kept its benchmark one-week repo rate unchanged at 10 percent on December 16th and signaled the possibility of further cuts in the first half of 2017. Policymakers also said that the dynamics of inflation and economic activity were overall in line with the forecast and inflation risks have subsided somewhat. Consumer prices growth was slowing down in part under the influence of temporary factors, while deceleration in inflation expectations remains unsteady.

Information Notice of Bank of Russia:

Inflation dynamics. Annual inflation continues to decline in line with the Bank of Russia’s baseline forecast. However, this is partly due to temporary factors. According to estimates, as of 12 December 2016 annual price growth fell to 5.6% from 6.1% in October. Price growth has slowed down noticeably in all key groups of goods and services and monthly seasonally adjusted inflation indicators have declined as well. The ruble exchange rate dynamics continues to be conducive to inflation deceleration as oil prices have been higher than expected and Russian financial assets remain attractive to external investors. A good harvest still facilitates a reduction in food inflation. At the same time, a more confident drop in non-food price growth is necessary for sustainable inflation decline. Households prefer to stick to a savings behaviour model, however, the disinflationary impact of domestic demand is subsiding gradually. Annual growth in real wages may facilitate a gradual recovery of demand for goods and services. Moderately tight monetary conditions need to be maintained in order to encourage households to save and set the trend towards sustainable inflation reduction under the impact of the demand-side constraints. This will enable a further decline in inflation expectations of both households and businesses. According to the Bank of Russia forecast, given the decision made annual inflation will slow to the 4% target in late 2017.

Monetary conditions. Moderately tight monetary conditions are still conducive to inflation reduction. Positive real interest rates will be kept at the level which will ensure demand for loans without an intensification of inflationary pressure and will also preserve incentives for savings. The potential of interest rate reduction is limited in the near future.

Economic activity. The economy is progressing towards recovery in line with the Bank of Russia’s baseline forecast. The estimates show that quarter-on-quarter GDP was no longer in decline in Q3 and industrial production expanded in October—November. However, the rebound in economic activity is still heterogeneous among industries and regions. Import substitution is advancing together with certain non-commodity exports and new lines of industrial growth, including the high-tech development. Business activity in services is also on the rise. Positive trends will take time to evolve and take hold. By the end of 2016, the output of goods and services will decrease by 0.5-0.7% with a slight growth in quarterly GDP to be seen in Q4. We expect moderate economic growth of less than 1% in 2017 and an increase to 1.5-2% in 2018-2019. The labour market is adapting to the new economic conditions and unemployment remains persistently low. The forecast is based on conservative assumptions about sluggish global growth, year-average oil prices of $40 per barrel for the entire forecast horizon, moderate capital outflow and structural constraints in the Russian economy.

Inflation risks. Risks that inflation fails to achieve the 4% target in 2017 have subsided somewhat. These risks stem largely from the inertia of inflation expectations and a decrease in household propensity to save. Price volatility in global commodity and financial markets may also have an adverse impact on exchange rate and inflation expectations. Approving of conservative budget consolidation strategy, including moderate indexation of wages and pensions in the medium-term horizon, makes an uncertainty and inflation risks from fiscal policy subside. At the same time, these risks might increase if government spending rise in higher oil price scenario.