At the end of 2015 Russians expect a strong devaluation of the Russian ruble. According to a survey by VTSIOM on 25-26 December, respondents on average predicted that in three months — at the end of March the dollar will be worth 76 rubles At the time of the survey it cost about 70 rubles.

December expectations of respondents VTSIOM (the survey polled 1,600 people in 130 settlements) realized much earlier — in January. Tuesday, January 12, exchange rate of American currency exceeded 77 rubles after falling below $30/bbl. the Brent crude oil. The official rate of the Central Bank on 14 January is 76,43 RUB.

Generally the Russians, according to the survey polls, predict that the dollar exchange rate after three months is usually called values, slightly different from the current value of the dollar. It follows from the data VTSIOM: every month the respondents answered the question: “what will be the dollar in three months” — until August 2015 (see graph) the difference between the effective rate and the forecast for the next three months is a maximum of 2 RS.

Sharp currency fluctuations (for example, from the end of January to end of April the dollar, according to the Central Bank, fell from 68.9 to 50.2 rubles — 27%) led to large errors in the forecasts. For example, in late January of last year the consensus forecast of respondents in the polls at the end of April was 71 rubles. for dollars. Thus, the Russians made a mistake at 21 rubles.

Since September in the public mind formed a clear consensus that the ruble will continue to weaken, said the head of Department of monitoring researches VTSIOM Oleg chernozub. And the population began to predict the course of three months 3-6 rubles above its value at the time of the survey. The graph shows the curve as predictive values off force values of the dollar.

As a result with an accuracy of 1 RUB. people were able to predict the dollar only in September last year, follows from the data VTSIOM. They expected that the dollar three months later — in December — will cost 69 rubles, when in reality it cost about 70 rubles.

What is the population predicts the dollar, close to current, is true for other forecasts, for example, on inflation, says Finance Professor of the Russian economic school Oleg Shibanov. “The logic is simple: if something unpredictable from the point of view of the people, then the best forecast of today’s price,” he said.

For ordinary people the prediction of the course, as the price of oil is a random walk (the theory that asset prices change irregularly and cannot be predicted): pictures wander by accident. “In fact it turns out that to describe as the prediction is close to the current course seems to be very rational and correct. This means that people quite adequately perceive what is happening: they understand that they are very difficult to predict that almost no one can” — says Shibanov.

People are not able to predict the dollar, and try to make it not worth it, better just to diversify investments, so that in General no strong fluctuations, he said. According to Shibanova, the fact that a couple of times Russians were close to the forecasts to the actual exchange rate is nothing more than a coincidence.

Predictions of professional financiers can be absolutely the same. “Analysts, on the one hand, better predict the course, but on the other hand, have a good understanding of the oil market, and understand its not all. Most likely, about 50% analysts will also be much wrong in the forecasts,” the expert added.

The view of the population about the continued devaluation of the ruble was generally correct. But this understanding has had almost no impact on the interest rate and on the structure of citizens ‘ savings. The proportion of those who regularly or occasionally monitors the U.S. currency, judging by the poll, in December rose marginally to 51 from 48% in November, compared with September fell from 55%.

The proportion of Russians to store the savings in roubles, despite the deterioration in the prospects of the ruble remained high: 52% in December. This is less than in November (55%) but more than in August (51%). In dollars savings stores 5% of the population (up from 4% in November), and in Euro — 3%. The percentage of respondents with no savings in December rose to 43 from 40% in November. Thus, this indicator has returned to maximum mark for the year, for the first time reached in October.

The increase in the number of people without savings in Russia is not consistent with the trend among the Russian middle class. According to the study “Consumer index Ivanova”, Sberbank CIB published on Wednesday, in the fourth quarter of last year the share of Russians of the middle class with no savings has fallen from 39 to 36%.