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Russia Economy – August 2013

Source: OPEC 8/25/2013, Location: Asia

Russian manufacturing fell in July, with the gauge of manufacturing business conditions dipping into contraction territory. The HSBC Russia manufacturing PMI sank in July to 49.2 from a four-month high of 51.7 in June. The PMI survey revealed weak performance for all key PMI indexes, particularly output, new orders and employment. Furthermore, the labor market indicated relative weakness, as the unemployment rate increased in June to 5.4% from 5.2% one month earlier, 0.2% higher than last year’s June rate.

In addition, slowing retail sales showed declining sentiment in consumer consumption. Retail sales increased 3.5% in June from a year earlier, compared to 7.7% and 5.8% in the same month in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Two main factors have collaborated to produce the easing business climate in Russia. First, the downward trend exhibited by consumer credit growth over the past several months; the percentage change y-o-y in personal loan amounts has retreated from more than 44% in June 2012 to just above 36.5% this year. The second factor is a recent increase in the unemployment rate.

Moreover, Russian fossil fuel export revenues on a value base declined over the first five months of 2013 by 9.0%, 4.2% and 2.1%, respectively, compared to the same period last year, while capital investment experienced no change in the first quarter over the same time last year.

The Russian economy is being impacted by slowing domestic momentum, in addition to lower commodity prices and declining investment. GDP forecasts remain unchanged from the previous month’s revision at 2.6% and 3.0% for this year and 2014, respectively.

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