The sharp economic downturn that was observed in Russia in the past two years, has not stopped the formation of a class relatively wealthy Russians, writes the chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Russia and the CIS Vladimir Osakovsky. “The number of Russians with monthly income above 60 thousand. in 2015, increased by 24%, and we expect that it will increase by another 19% in 2016”, – stated in the review “Overcoming depression” (Passing through the trough). According to the Bank, by the end of last year such income was 14.8 million Russians. This trend does not stop even slowing the growth of nominal wages to historic lows due to the freezing of salaries in the public sector and in a large number of private companies.
The number of relatively rich Russians grew by more than 45% compared to pre-crisis level by 2013, and is expected to double by 2020: then 30 million Russians will have a monthly income above 60 thousand rubles, predicts Osakovsky. The main driver will be the increase in the nominal income of people with a monthly income of 27-45 thousand RUB, he explains.
Despite nominal revenue growth, the purchasing power of the population, including Russians with a relatively high income in foreign currency decreased sharply due to the devaluation of the ruble. The number of people with monthly disposable income above $1 thousand has fallen from peak values 2013 (36 million Russians) to 14 million people in 2015, said Osakovsky. He adds that this dramatic drop has led to a decline in demand for imported goods: among other things, dropped by 30% in the sales of new machines decreased outbound tourism.
If the dollar exchange rate, under the baseline scenario, BofA, stabiliziruemost at 65 RUB/USD. the number of Russians with monthly income of above $1 thousand will grow by 1.5 million people by the end of 2015 and to 26.6 million people by 2020,” calculated Osakovsky.