Production growth rates in the Russian industry (after seasonal clearing) got stabilized at a moderate increase in output. A baseline data, as well as data on demand, have demonstrated quite traditional for 2003-2008 February upsurge. It seems that the dynamics of output in the Russian industry was returning to the pre-crisis trend. Production plans of enterprises in February, too, traditionally (like in pre-crisis period) have improved since the January jump-up in optimism. As a result of the initial data for January - February 2010, the balance of the planned changes in production rose by 68 points: from -25 in December to 43 in February (in 2008 the growth in the same period totaled to 48 points in 2007 - to 43 points and In 2006 – by 51 points). Clearance of the seasonal factors has the New Year growth before stabilization at the level of 21 points, which was the crisis maximum peak.
Idle capacities for the planned increase in production by industrial enterprises was sufficient enough. In late 2009 - early 2010, the excessive capacity (in view of the anticipated changes in demand) were available in 30 per cent of enterprises (see Fig. 10). Thus, it is not just idle capacity, it's power capacity whose use is impossible even with quite optimistic forecasts of demand. The minimum level of security with such "square" was the capacity registered in early 2008 – up to the peak of the very strong heating of the Russian industry made - and 11 per cent.
Another indicator of the possibility of rapid recovery of growth is the mentioning of the lack of equipment by enterprises as an obstacle to growth in production output - from the beginning of 2009 - averaged 10 per cent and was three times lower than the historical maximum (32 per cent), registered in mid-2007 (see Fig. 11).
The growth of prices at the beginning of the year in the industry remained at the highest in the previous 18-month level. Businesses for the third time during the current crisis have turned to price upsurging. The first attempt in March 2009 resulted in the balance of price changes by 2 points, the second one ( in September 2009) – by 7 points, in February 2010 for the second consecutive month the price growth was kept at 11 points. The pricing plans reflected the intention of businesses to continue, or at least to keep such price growth rate in coming months.
In February 2010, the industries have recorded the most moderate rates of staff dismissal since the beginning of the crisis assessments. Balance within the month has grown by points and almost reached the zero level (no layoffs in general in the industry). In February, recruitment of workers is resumed in the food, light and building industries. The balance for plans of changes in employment for the first time during the current crisis has entered the positive zone - the companies confirmed their intention to move from a reduction of workers to their employment.
The Real Sector of the Economy Availability of credits in the industry has reached 64 per cent (see Fig. 12) in February 2010. Average minimum lending rate has decreased to 16.4 per cent per annum in rubles.
Banks continued to reduce the thresholds to access to their monetary resources. In the first place – to the ferrous metallurgy entities (normal access was provided to 98 per cent of the enterprises, the average minimum rate of 14.4 per cent per annum), to chemistry and petrochemistry enterprises (79 and 14.1 per cent), to food businesses (66 and 14.7 per cent) and machine-building (61 and 13.7 per cent) sectors.
The share of bad credits in the industry has declined in early 2010 to 23 per cent (the share of businesses with loans and not able to serve them). Crisis maximum of this index (49 per cent) was registered in April The first quarter of 2010 was the best since the crisis began, but clearly worse in terms of dynamics. Recovery from the crisis has slowed down. In March, the dynamics of demand has shown only a stabilization of about zero, the fall in demand has deceased, while there was no growth yet. As a result, two thirds of businesses were dissatisfied with sales of their products and only one-third considered them normal. The most comfortable feeling in the first quarter of 2010 was observed among the businesses of food industry (64 per cent of satisfaction), chemistry and petroleum chemistry (55 per cent) and non-ferrous metallurgy (54 per cent).
Demand forecasts for the I quarter 2010 have stabilized, remaining the best since the crisis beginning and comparable with the level of the first post-default years. Despite the lack of sales, the businesses had not allowed the increase in surplus stocks of finished goods at their warehouses. Balance of estimated reserves in general in the industry did not change and remained at the crisis level (less the upsurge in November 2009) and at the level of reasonable redundancy, typical for the pre-crisis years.
The intensity of output growth by the end of the first quarter of 2010 has reached the rate of growth of +34 balance points, which was normal for the pre-crisis years. Purification from seasonal factors has decreased the growth rate to +11 balance points, which was the best during crisis and was already comparable to the pre-crisis value of this indicator. Plans of output, as well as demand forecasts, have demonstrated the record in stability (before and after purification from seasonal factors) in the first quarter of 2010. Growth of output in the second quarter should have dominated in all sectors.
The growth of wholesale prices in Russian industry in the first quarter of 2010 remained the highest in the current crisis in terms of intensity. In March all sectors increased the prices, except for the construction industry, which has turned from the policy of reducing prices to the stability thereof. The most intensive growth took place in March in chemical and petrochemical industries (+35 b.p.). However, in the second quarter industry was planning to slow down the prices growth: the New Year inflation upsurge was over. The balance of anticipated changes in prices within March has decreased by 6 points and returned to the level of November 2009. After that, the industry started "price attack" for four months, whereas the previous two ones lasted for two months each.
In March 2010 the industry for the first time during the current crisis has turned from layoffs to hiring employees. Such plans have appeared in January, survived in February, and finally were realized (see Fig. 8). Layoffs continued only in metallurgy and timber industry, while in the other industries the number of personnel was growing, particularly intensively in food and light industries. Positive trend in employment growth gained in intensity during all the I quarter.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks 4.2.2. Second Quarter: a Pause At the beginning of the II quarter the Russian industry demonstrated an adaptation to the stagnation of I quarter 2010.Growth rate in demand for industrial products got stabilized in both, according to the initial data and purified from seasonal factors. But the dynamics of demand within January - April was the best since mid-2008, when the global financial crisis has only started in Russia. However, demand forecasts, which jumped up in January, started to decline.
The assessments of finished products stocks have also stabilized since December 2009 - excessive stocks the industry has established the traditional for the pre-crisis months (see Fig. 13). The majority and stable part of the enterprises (60-64 per cent) believed their stocks were normal since September 2009. In the I quarter of 2010 the physical volume of stocks of finished products continued to reduce. However, the rate of decline gradually reduced, but the plans for the II quarter reflected the intention of businesses to increase the intensity of the stocks reduction.
In April, the change of the output rate has not undergone fundamental changes. Manufacturing continued its growth with a modest (by pre-crisis standards) intensity, which according to the businesses estimates, has not changed since September 2009, when the producers did not recon on special demand growth. In April, output plans have undergone the strongest negative adjustments in January 2009. A small but steady growth in production in April resulted in industrial capacity utilization to 66 per cent (see Fig. 14). With such intensity the equipment was used prior to the crisis in 2005. Herewith, the crisis minimum indicator was recorded in January 2009 and amounted to 53 per cent.
Estimates of excessive capacity have confirmed the positive dynamics of their utilization.
In the II quarter of 2010 the share of companies with excessive capacity has decreased to per cent, which also corresponds to the level of 2005. In January 2009 43 per cent of responses "more than enough" have been obtained. Absolute pre-crisis minimum (January and April 2008) of this indicator was 11 per cent.
The businesses continued to regard the insufficient demand for their production as the main obstacle to the growth of output. In the II quarter of 2010, it was mentioned by 53 per cent of manufacturers (the crisis maximum of the I Quarter 2009 was 67 per cent). In the second place was the lack of funds, which was mentioned in the list of barriers by 45 per cent of the companies. Decrease of this hindering effect during the crisis quarters was only 5 points - that is, there were no significant changes here. The third place was taken by the main problem of the Russian industry, i.e., the lack of staff! It was mentioned by 26 per cent of enterprises, the crisis minimum a year earlier amounted to 14 per cent. In the fourth place there were nonpayments of customers and competing imports. Mentioning of non-payment has reduced during the crisis from 41 to 22 per cent, mentioning of imports has increased from 13 to 21 per cent. Vagueness of the current economic situation made it difficult to take decisions only to 20 per cent of the directors of industrial enterprises. A year ago, this factor was considered a hindrance by 45 per cent of IEP (among which 90 per cent were enterprise directors, their deputies and heads of economic units). Thus, the management of enterprises was clearly better informed of the situation.
In April 2010, Russian industries continued to increase the number of their employees.
Growth rate remained unchanged as compared with March level, when for the first time during the crisis recruitment exceeded the dismissal level. Staffing plans of the enterprises in April have not changed – for the fourth month in the industries intentions to increase the staff Section 4.
The Real Sector of the Economy were dominating. As a result, by the II quarter of 2010, industries got rid of the excess of employees in view of anticipated changes in demand: the share of "more than enough" estimates caught up with the share "insufficient" estimates; the balance was zero (see Figure 15). The crisis maximum of this balance has been registered in the I quarter of 2009 and made points, the absolute minimum during the pre-crisis period (-20 points) was recorded in the I quarter 2008 At the level of individual industries a shortage of employees was noted: the answers "insufficient" became dominant in the light industry and construction industry.
Easy access to credits for the industries continued to grow: in April, the normal access to borrowed funds already had 61 per cent of the enterprises. However, within four months in 2010 this indicator increased only by 7 points, whereas in the IV quarter of 2009 it has grown by 14 percentage points. Lending recovery for the Russian industries has definitely slowed down. Average minimum interest rate on ruble loans offered by the banks was decreased in April for the industry in general to 15.7 per cent per annum.
The ability of businesses to serve the existing loans continued to increase. In April 2010, already 78 per cent of the holders of loans thought so, while in February there were 72 per cent of them. Crisis minimum of this indicator (50 per cent) occurred in April 2009. Minimum financial solvency in terms of credit in the II quarter of 2010 were: mechanical engineering (recognized by 24 per cent of businesses with loans), construction industry (also per cent) and LESPROM (22 per cent). The highest self-esteem of solvency has been registered in the metallurgy: only 2 per cent of the industry have acknowledged their failure to service loans.
In May, the weak positive trend in demand for industrial production remained. The rate of sales growth has improved (after cleaning from seasonal factors) for further 2 points and has become more positive - sales began to grow more steadily. Since the beginning of the year, the indicator upgraded by 10 points – insufficient to overcome the crisis, but it is important that the growth is sustained, as in the IV quarter of 2009 the rate of changes in demand has stabilized at a negative level (i.e., the sales level was still declining). In May, the demand estimates were still positive (sales growth continued), but clearly less than at the beginning of the year.
In May 2010, the satisfaction in demand has increased to 58 per cent for the first time during this crisis having exceeded the share of responses "below normal" and has reached the pre-crisis level (September 2008). The gap from the crisis bottom (19 per cent, April 2009) has already reached 39 points. The highest satisfaction with sales volumes was registered in August 2007 and amounted to 72 per cent. Formally the difference between that absolute maximum made 14 points. The sharp increase in sales satisfaction in the previous months (points in March - May) at the background of a very slight change in their growth rate (by points over the same three months) demonstrates, that the industries in the II quarter finally came to terms with the sluggish recovery from crisis and had little hope for restoration of former high growth in demand and output.
However, the normal level of demand for businesses before the crisis and that in 2010 are not the same, which is demonstrated by production capacity utilization. On average in 2007, the demand was considered normal if 77 per cent of capacities were utilized, and in the II quarter of 2010 that level reached 72 per cent. In 2001 production capacity utilization with normal volumes of sales was 62 per cent.
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