Posted 2 декабря 2022,, 11:19
Published 2 декабря 2022,, 11:19
Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38
Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38
Russian consumer sentiment and inflation expectations have improved slightly after the stress of mobilization in late September, according to new data from a monthly poll commissioned by the Central Bank. In November, the consumer sentiment index rose by 2 points after a sharp decline in October. However, this dynamics is not due to changes in the observed economic situation, but solely to fluctuations in expectations. A similar situation is in the assessments of the current situation by enterprises and in the assessments of the population of the country's economic prospects for the next year and for five years. After a noticeable failure of these estimates in October, they returned to lower, but still overestimated levels of mid-2022, experts on the Re-Russia online publication comment on these data.
After the October surge of “mobilizational” pessimism, when inflationary expectations slightly increased and expectations regarding the economic outlook significantly worsened, the November poll shows a certain stabilization. The peak of the price shock in the perception of the population came in April, after which the inflation observed by the Russians began to decline consistently. However, in autumn the pace of this decline slowed down, moreover, the inflation expected by the population began to grow already in August, in October the share of those expecting prices to rise jumped from 14 to 22% of the number of inFOM respondents, and in November it decreased to 18%. The inflation expected by the population, according to the calculations of the Central Bank, was 10.8% in July, jumped to 12.8% in the "mobilization" October and fell to 12.2% in November.
Indicators of crisis consumer behavior behaved in exactly the same way. In the spring, the proportion of those who tended to buy less or buy cheaper reached peak levels over the past three years (53%). Then it consistently decreased to 41% in September, in October there was a slight rise (43%), and in November the dynamics returned to its previous trajectory: 38% of inFOM respondents refused to buy and tried to buy cheaper. In November, the number of families that over the past year had to save on something or abandon planned purchases and expenses due to lack of funds fell by 4 p.p. (to 70%) after rising by 7 p.p. in October .
The key integrated indicator, the consumer sentiment index, slightly improved in November after a sharp fall in October. However, upon closer examination, assessments of the current situation have not changed since August, while expectations have been subject to strong fluctuations. A similar situation is observed in the assessments of the economic situation by business; stagnation of production over the past months is also noticeable here, with strong fluctuations in expectations - in August-September they continued to grow, in October they experienced a sharp decline, and in November they recovered somewhat.
Consumer sentiment index, January 2020 - November 2022
Anomalies in expectations are a characteristic feature of this crisis year, experts believe. This is clearly seen in the consumer sentiment index. While assessments of the current consumer situation fell by almost 20 points by April, expectations fell by only 12. Then, for six months, expectations were at levels significantly higher than in a quite successful year for the economy in 2021. And now, although expectations were somewhat undermined by the October fall, they are still above the average values of last year, for which there are no grounds in the economy.
According to "infom", the prospects for the development of the country look similar in the views of the population. On average, for 2021, the index of prospects for the Russian economy for the next year was 93 points, and in the crisis year 2022 it rose to 102; The five-year development outlook index rose from an average of 95 points in 2021 to 108 in 2022. Both indices faltered in October, dropping by 12 and 6 points, respectively, but returned to the area of average annual values in November.
In general, the situation of high expectations is fraught with new breakdowns and the emergence of "black swans" - events that are perceived much more sharply than they deserve, concentrating accumulated disappointment in themselves. However, partial mobilization, which could have been such an event until it was, showed a November reversal towards unfounded optimism.