The past year was “not the most favorable for the Russian economy”, the authors of the report, the Ministry of economic development (MED). In the sections on individual sectors of the economy, sound more harsh. In particular, retail trade, according to the MAYOR, finished 2015 with the worst results in more than 40 years.
“The volume retail trade turnover decreased in comparison with year 2014 10%, an unprecedented low, from observation of the 1970,” says the report.
A sharp drop in sales in the MAYOR explain the rapid reduction in real wages and the fact that in the conditions of crisis more and more buyers “into observers of the trading process”. “The decline of purchases of food in 2015 is unprecedented, this was not even during the crisis of 1998-1999, when the average income fell significantly stronger, which suggests that the current crisis most severely hit the poorest of the poor, the main part of the expenditure which falls on food,” the report said.
However, on the savings behavior went not only people with low income, but middle class. Experts warn the MAYOR that the population of Russia “is sinking deeper into a psychological vortex devaluation inflationary expectations” because of a lack of confidence in the impossibility of repetition “black Tuesday”. In such a situation, the restoration of the level of consumer spending, according to the MAYOR, only after “output in the plus” the dynamics of real wages.
Previously the Deputy head of the Ministry of labor Lyubov Eltsova predicted the return of wages to the level of 2014, not earlier than 2018.
“In 2016, at least in the first few months, entrepreneurs are the main objective is to preserve the business and to survive within the margin, which now forms the consumer”, — said the MAYOR. According to experts the Agency, the risks that the situation in the retail trade will evolve “within the framework of negative dynamics” will remain high until at least the middle of next year.
A rapid transition of the sector to growth, as happened after the crisis of 2008-2009, the MAYOR is not expecting. First, due to the lack of pent-up demand (at the beginning of the current crisis, the Russians were actively depreciating rubles invested in the purchase of durable goods), and secondly, because of the confidence that the crisis will not end earlier than in 3-4 years, and thirdly, because of the lack of state capabilities to support demand by increasing wages and pensions.
Another casualty of the transition of Russians in the saving mode in the report the MAYOR called the service sector. The document stresses that the industry is “no profit” or the weakening of the national currency, neither from the start of the program of import substitution, and since it strictly depends on the negative dynamics of consumer demand, it is now “take the loss”. “Preconditions for the recovery situation is not yet foreseeable. Selectively-savings model of consumer behavior, which crossed the households in the face of declining purchasing power, provides, including almost complete elimination of unnecessary services,” noted the MAYOR.
According to the Agency, the Russians for the first time in many years began to save even on things like a trip to the hairdresser. Even those who still did not get a haircut home, are increasingly sacrificing “related services” that has led to a decrease in total revenue of salons. In the MAYOR warned that the network of institutions, able to optimize costs, will be able to cope with the falling attendance and demand, but the “single simple” institutions will have “very difficult”.
The situation in the tourist market, according to the MAYOR, and is close to “collapse”. During the first nine months 2015 the number of Russian tourists travelling abroad, amid falling ruble and rising political tension declined by almost a third. “A combination of factors have resulted in the mass bankruptcy of tour companies. As “import substitution”, the tourist business could be reoriented to the domestic market, however, due to inadequate infrastructure, the demand for domestic tourism is not comparable to the collapse of the external market”, — underlined in the report.
The owners of most hotels in Russia itself, according to the MAYOR, do not view the current situation as a crisis. However, the fall in demand in the upper and luxury segment is already noticeable, and they will have to wait for better times.
Among the positive moments of development of the Russian economy at the end of 2015 in the report the MAYOR referred to the suspension of the fall of GDP. Excluding seasonal factor, the index of GDP in December of 2015 in comparison with November has not changed, while in November decreased by 0.2%. The mining and agriculture even showed in December a slight increase, while in manufacturing industries the reduction of production slowed down from 0.4% in November to 0.1%.
However, in a number of sectors (primarily focused on meeting consumer demand), the situation will remain difficult. For example, the production of passenger cars in December 2015 accelerated on a monthly basis, by 12.5%. The production of shoes in December decreased by 23,3% compared with a decline of 10.2% in November 2015, the issue of suits fell by 28%.
According to experts, the MAYOR, the difficult situation in the light industry due to outdated equipment, the dependence on increasingly expensive imported raw materials and the inability to get affordable loans for working capital and implementation of investment projects. In these conditions of recession, the industry did not save even the devaluation of the ruble, the majority of enterprises failed not only to implement the “additional opportunities to increase export potential”, but also to strengthen its position in the domestic market.