Posted 2 ноября 2021,, 16:52

Published 2 ноября 2021,, 16:52

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

It was "household", but will became "golden": why home appliances are so expensive

It was "household", but will became "golden": why home appliances are so expensive

2 ноября 2021, 16:52
Фото: Новые Известия
By the New Year, food is traditionally becoming more expensive, but now you won't surprise anyone with this fact. But household appliances really can amaze with their price tags: by the end of the year, a serious rise in price is predicted. Novye Izvestia tried to found out why is it so.

Victoria Pavlova

According to the associate professor of the Department of Finance and Prices of the Russian University of Economics named after G.V. Plekhanov Maria Dolgova, electronics, household appliances and cars will rise in price the most by the New Year. Where else cars can rise in price is not entirely clear given the inevitable dealer markups, but goods sold in retail chains without bargaining, deception and manipulation can rise in price by another 15% in annual terms. And not at all because people are in a hurry to buy gifts for the holidays.

"The reasons for the total rise in prices lie in a significant rise in prices for metals, a crisis in the supply of semiconductors, and an increase in energy prices", - says Maria Dolgova.

An amazing situation: the crisis in semiconductor production happened a long time ago - a year and a half ago, the country has an import substitution program, and prices are still growing. "Novye Izvestia" with experts figured out whether there is a chance for household appliances and consumer electronics to keep the same price tags.

According to Stanislav Klein, the Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Angstrem JSC, there are now several factors that make consumer electronics manufacturers prefer not to take risks and restrict production.

- Currently, there is a sharp increase in the cost of imported raw materials, materials and components. From 20 to 60%, on average - about 40%. The delivery time for raw materials has increased from 8 to 20 weeks. The cost of the container has increased from $ 3500 to $ 14000. In general, all this significantly increases the production cost of electronic equipment. Manufacturers of civilian products have taken a wait-and-see attitude, since there is no demand for expensive consumer electronics.

Associate Professor of the Department of Informatics of the PRUE GV Plekhanova Alexander Timofeev notes the increased cost of rolled metal (washing machines from plastic have not yet learned how to make) and the desire of sellers to seize the moment and make more money on the wave of hype.

Basically, experts point to production factors, but analyst Dmitry Milin also sees the macroeconomic policy of leading countries among the most important reasons for the rise in prices, which is almost impossible to fight:

- From my point of view, both the shortage of semiconductors and the rise in energy prices (and earlier the rise in prices for building materials - and also several times), the main reason is the printing of money by central banks (numbered QE from the FRS and LITRO from the ECB) and the distribution of benefits the population at the time of lockdowns. Both are "money out of thin air", for which there was not enough goods to cover the increased demand. Plus, the rise in prices is influenced by the problems in global logistics that have arisen due to lockdowns, due to which there are "traffic jams" in the movement of goods from producers to consumers.

There is no domestic mass electronics at the moment. Even the National Center for Informatization, which is part of Rostec, was unable to supply Russian Railways with 14 thousand domestic computers based on Baikal processors and 1 thousand on Elbrus processors for 1.08 billion rubles (an average of 72 thousand rubles for one computer). NCI simply did not find a company ready to assemble all this equipment - there are no domestic processors.

Experts, on the other hand, have different opinions on the import substitution program. Stanislav Klein sees the main problem in the small volume of investments - the figures for the investments of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and leading companies clearly demonstrate this situation. Even the 2 trillion rubles that the state has invested in all areas of import substitution over the past 5 years are a drop in the ocean against the background of investments by individual chip manufacturers:

- Import substitution programs are generally effective. For example, only those that have Russian LEDs have come to be considered Russian LED luminaires. This led to the opening of five domestic enterprises producing LEDs. RUB 2 trillion is spread across a large and heavily underfunded industry. The most necessary equipment and production facilities are being updated. Is it a lot or a little? For example, one plant for the production of chips using 14 nm technology costs about 1 trillion rubles. But for its work, you will need more raw materials - silicon wafers, gases and reagents. Their production also needs to be adjusted.

Dmitry Milin adheres to a radically different point of view regarding the implemented import substitution measures. And he does not pin hopes on the future 1.2 billion rubles.

- Import substitution in Russia ended in a tremendous failure: the money disappeared, but the results were not achieved. In the activities of the bureaucracy, the process, that is, following instructions, is more important than achieving a result. The bureaucrat will not be punished for not achieving expected results, but punished for not following instructions. This must be remembered when we expect any results from the government.

In 2017, the media wrote: “14.5 billion have been allocated for the expulsion of foreign electronics from Russia. The total initial amount of contracts for them exceeded 14.5 billion rubles. " The results of those works were supposed to appear in the fall of 2019, however, NONE of the above was done in this way, but, apparently, the money was completely "mastered" by the officials.

Stanislav Klein also believes that a breakthrough cannot be made for 1.2 billion rubles, if only because this is too small an amount for the industry:

- 1.2 billion rubles will be enough only to support critical industries to ensure the country's security. For the production of domestic electronics, something more will be required.

"Novye Izvestia" sent questions to the Ministry of Industry and Trade about the success of import substitution and the impact of imported components on production, but by the time of publication the answer from the department had not come...

The company "NM-Tech", owned by VEB.RF, is trying to solve the problem of staff shortages by enticing several dozen specialists from the Taiwanese United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC is the third manufacturer of chips in the world), offering their families to live in Russia and competitive salaries of up to 20 thousand .dollars per month. Russian engineers never dreamed of such salaries ... But this is a special case. On the whole, there is hope that global equipment manufacturers will open not only assembly plants in Russia, but also the production of components. Aleksandr Timofeyev believes there are no barriers to this:

- The volume of container deliveries around the world will grow even more and disruptions in world turnover may further affect the rise in the cost of bulky cargo. In such a situation, it makes sense to produce large-sized goods in Russia. And at the same time, it is possible to establish a full-fledged production of domestic electronics, including for household appliances. There will be no hindrances or problems in this. Russia already has a number of manufactures of large electronics and household appliances: there are refrigerators, including foreign firms (joint production on the territory of the Russian Federation), and washing machines, street screens (large format monitors). Russia has a large raw material base, developed infrastructure and other factors that make it possible to expect that due to the global shortage, the world giants will be interested in opening in Russia not just an assembly, but the production of electronics with a fairly low production cost and a huge consumption market and export opportunities to Europe and to Asia.

But not all experts agree with this opinion. For the organization of full-fledged production by foreign companies in Russia, Stanislav Kane first of all sees political risks:

- World giants are unlikely to transfer their production to Russia. Microelectronics is a strategically important industry that determines the technological level, competitiveness and future of the country. The sanctions are intended to deprive their competitors of any decent future.

And Dmitry Milin is sure that the problem of transferring production lies not in the treachery of foreigners, but in the peculiarities of the investment climate in Russia:

- This is an absolute utopia. With the existing "Arctic" investment climate, one should not hope that global giants will come to Russia, but worry that Russian manufacturers and specialists will not leave Russia for other countries with a more comfortable life and a more favorable investment climate. Russian tech startups have been migrating to the West for a long time, as have the best scientists, engineers and programmers. Russia cannot offer anything good not only to business, but also to its citizens.

So, there is no need to hope that someone will come to Russia and do everything himself. And for domestic companies and the state, the investments usual for the industry are unbearable. The $ 100 billion that TSMC is going to invest is more than 7 trillion rubles at the current exchange rate. 38% of all federal budget revenues for 2021. But the cost of organizing modern production in Russia can be much higher than in Asia or the West. It can be very difficult to buy ready-made imported equipment due to sanctions, and to develop domestic equipment is even more expensive.

In the end, at best, Russia can only provide its own electronics with critical industries like the defense industry, which are not chasing the latest fashion trends and are ready to go to high costs. And people who buy consumer electronics and household appliances have no options: they will have to pay more and more for imports.