Threat No. 1 for the Russian economy: the country's population is slipping into debt

Threat No. 1 for the Russian economy: the country's population is slipping into debt
Threat No. 1 for the Russian economy: the country's population is slipping into debt
6 May, 12:06Photo: Соцсети
The fall in real incomes of Russians by 10-20% at the end of the year risks bringing down the country's GDP.

The fall in the incomes of the population, according to forecasts, will become one of the main catalysts for social tension and the growth of general depressive moods among the apolitical masses, experts of the Nezygar channel write. The new reality has already become the basis for revising consumer and marketing strategies, but adaptation mechanisms based on the “nine eggs in one package” principle are unlikely to give the expected effect.

A decrease in consumer expectations will not be able to fully compensate for all the socio-psychological consequences of the crisis: according to experts, the economic crisis will increase social anxiety, family and domestic problems, as well as manifestations of anomie (crime, alcoholism, family conflicts, drug addiction, an increase in the number of suicides, etc.).

Closing access to cheap credit as the spiral of on-lending and microfinance dependency began, which peaked among the poorest sections of society last year, runs the risk of being superimposed on a reduction in purchasing power rather quickly.

The debt burden of the population is currently estimated at 56%, and in some regions (Bashkiria, Altai Territory, Orenburg, Novosibirsk Regions) exceeds 80%.

According to analysts' forecasts, a particularly sharp drop in real incomes will affect the regions where the share of income required to cover debts to banks has already exceeded 85% (Tyva, Kalmykia).

Despite the increase in the key rate and the general increase in consumer uncertainty, experts note a significant increase in the volume and amount of credit and loan debts in all regions.

The growth rate of debt load is especially high in regions where the real annual earnings of the majority of the population are significantly lower than the official average regional indicators: in the Sakhalin Oblast and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the increase in debt load overtakes Moscow and St. Petersburg, with an almost threefold difference in wages.

The overall increase in debt has already crossed the 35% mark, which is ahead of even the most pessimistic forecasts of a fall in real incomes of the population as a result of inflation.

It is noted that the prompt introduction by the government of the possibility of switching to credit holidays in March this year has not yet brought a tangible result: over the past two months, no more than 1,000 people on average per region, with the exception of Moscow and St. Petersburg, have been able to use the option.

Experts point to the need to develop more systematic and affordable programs for citizens to get the population out of debt. At the same time, the state will have to make a choice between GDP and its own population. “The poorest regions of the country are rapidly covered by inflation and new lending rates, which are already bringing the term of the debt collapse to the boundary of one year or even several months. Credit assets account for more than 74% of GDP, of which at least 9% is already beyond the limits of the salary capabilities of its borrowers.

With the advent of real inflation in early June, this figure will double, and by the beginning of autumn it will become the number one threat to the Russian economy. The state's options will be limited: either release the key rate and inflation, allowing the population to continue to free fall into a deep debt hole, or cut another 5-10% of GDP by declaring a credit amnesty for the most impoverished segments of the population. In autumn, both of these options will turn out to be only a small price to pay for the lack of adequate measures to support the population and consistency between the support of the Government and the actions of the Central Bank today”, - experts say.

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