According to the estimation of the Federal State Statistics Service, the number of the economically active population made 76.2 mln of people by the end of October, which makes 53% of the total population of the country. Starting with July 2008 the trend for monthly growth of the unemployment has been observed. The total number of the unemployed in October 2008 was 4.6 mln of people or 6.1% of the economically active population and has increased by 8.7% or 372 thousand of people as compared with the corresponding period of 2007. By the end of the year it is expected that the number of citizens registered at the federal employment agencies will rise dramatically, which is a negative consequence of the financial crisis.
On the basis of the analysis of the existing trends in January-October the expected GDP growth as a result of 2008 can be in the range of 106.5% to106.8%.
Russian industry in november S. Tsukhlo The situation of Russian industry is continuing to deteriorate. The dramatic fall in sales was followed by a reduction in enterprises’ output, lowering prices and job cuts. Simultaneously, the stocks of finished product were growing, while the financial and economic position of enterprises was becoming worse. The November forecasts of the majority of producers are also bleak: due to shrinking credits, in the next few months they expect a significant reduction in demand and are planning further decrease of output.
Rosstat is also beginning to lose optimism According to the first official data published by Rosstat, in October 2008 industrial output was by 1.6 % higher than in October of last year. Later on, the strategic department adjusted this figure and reported growth of only 0.6 %. The same index in September (that is, the increase on September 2007.) was 6.3 %. By comparison with the previous month, October’s output was by 2.8 % higher.
The reestimation performed by the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting (CMASF) has demonstrated that October 2008 saw an absolute fall in industrial output. Output in October against the same period of last year declined by 0.8 %. When cleared of seasonality, industrial output in October dropped on September by 2.2 %. In this connection, in a vast majority of types of activity there was a drop or an abrupt arrest of growth.
The estimations offered by enterprises: this in already reminiscent of the 1990s The results of surveys of directors of enterprises (which, across the globe, are published prior to the release of State statistical data, and differ from the latter also by their variability) unquestionably point to aggravation of crisis in Russian industry in November 2008.
The rate of the decline in demand for industrial products in November has reached proportions that had earlier been recorded only in the 1990s. Now this index plunged to – 62 balance points, whereas in August it had been +3, and in June +14 points. Two-thirds of enterprises in November reported a reduction in the sales of their products, while in August such reports constituted only 15 %. Clearing of seasonality only slightly adjusted the rate of decline in sales: now it has reached -54 points, being second only to the results recoded in 1994. Then, demand was declining at the rate of -63…-58 points.
As a result, the estimations of sales volumes have changed dramatically. Now they satisfy only 26% of enterprises, while 71% consider their current demand to be “below the norm”. In August 2007 the estimations were directly opposite: demand was normal for 72 %, while “below the norm” - for 23 % enterprises. During the worst periods of the 1990s the share of answers “below the norm” was above 90 %. Now the highest satisfaction with sales has been registered in the food industry (45 %, the historic high of 2007 – 2008 being 85 %), light industry (30 %, historic high – 74 %), and machinebuilding (28 %, historic high – 70 %).
The collapse of demand has forced industry to reduce output. While in October the intensity of production decline was at its lowest rate (-1 balance points after clearing of seasonality), in November this index dropped to - 41 balance points. The rate of decrease in output higher than that recorded in November 2008 was only in 1994. A drop in output in November was reported by 61% enterprises, although in August the share of such reports had been still only 17 %.
However, it seems that such a reduction in output was insufficient – industry began to display negative changes in the size of finished stock. In November the share of the answers ”normal” decreased from 61 to 47 %, while that of the answers “above the norm” went up from 23 to 35 %. The balance (above – below the norm) decreased, in one month, by 8 points and now amounts to +19 points, which actually represents the historic high of the last five years. Worsening estimations of finished stocks are registered across all the branches, with especially remarkable changes being displayed by the timber industry, machine-building and food industry.
The declining demand continues to affect the pricing policies of producers. In November, Russian industry definitely displayed an absolute reduction of prices. The rate of changes in the actual manufacturing prices has now reached its historic low ( of 1993 – 2008, as seen by the initial data): when cleared of seasonality, the November result was found to be the second worst for that period. A more intensive decline in prices was demonstrated only in July 1998. An absolute drop in prices was registered in all the branches, except machine-building and light industry. In those sectors, prices were increasing at a minimum rate. Metallurgy remained leader in the drop of prices, followed by chemical and petrochemical industries, where the pricing policy last month was dramatically changed.
The pricing plans of enterprises have also been subjected to fundamental revision. If in October industry was still planning some growth of prices (by no means, of course, as intensive as in July - August), in November the prevalent intention was already that of lowering the free market prices. Besides, the result observed in November 2008 turned to be an historic low both in terms of raw data and those cleared of seasonality.
Job cuts: willinness and caution In the wake of declining demand and output, enterprises have begun to cut jobs. In Q IV 2008, the share of enterprises dismissing their employees doubled on the previous quarter and reached 35 %.
This represents an absolute historic high of the whole period of monitoring this index (since 2003 ). In 2006 – 2007, job cuts in a year’s last quarter were reported by 12–13 % of enterprises. As a result, the rate of decline in employment at present amounts to -29 b. p. (although a zero rate had been planned) and represents an absolute historic low (10 points below the previous similar record). After it had been cleared of seasonality, this index became somewhat lower but still represented a record value: no number of dismissals of this scope has yet been observed in the last 6 years. The personnel policy was most strongly adjusted in non-ferrous metallurgy (the share of enterprises cutting jobs rose there in one quarter from 10 to 76 %), the food industry (where this index grew from 11 to 46 %), the chemical industry (from 15 to 40 %), and machine-building (from 18 to 32 %).
Even more radical adjustments in Q IV were observed with regard to enterprises’ employment plan.
If in Q II 2008 dismissals were planned at 6 % of enterprises, in Q III – by 15 %, the rate of planned dismissals in Q IV became as high as 38 %. As a result, the intended figure of this index has now reached its historic high of the last 10 years. During the years prior to the default, worse forecasts were recorded only in 1994, 1996 and 1998.
However, the personnel policy of enterprises is being shaped not only by the current economic crisis associated with pessimistic dynamics of demand and output. The domestic employers refrain from more drastic measures in this sphere because they well remember the recent large-scale shortage of personnel and are aware of the situation in the national system of education. As a result, at present (in Q IV 2008), approximately a quarter of all enterprises in Russian industry believe (just as they did six months or a year ago) that the numbers of their current staff are not sufficient, in view of the expected changes in demand. At the same time, however, the share of enterprises with redundant personnel is also growing, but at a very low rate (12 % against 9 % and 6 % in the previous two quarters respectively) and due to the decreasing share of enterprises with adequate numbers of employees (63 % against 65 % and 70 %). Thus, as before, industry is short of personnel (the number of enterprises experiencing such shortage is higher than the number of those with redundant personnel). Now the balance of these estimates is -13 b. p. (the historic low of 2008 is -20, and the absolute historic low of 1996 - 2008 is - 21 b. p.). At the same time, the corresponding estimates of industrial capacity demonstrate, for a second quarter in a row, its redundancy in Russian industry.
The financial-economic situation faced by enterprises The actual financial and economic situation of Russian enterprises in Q IV 2008 became worse. The situation was characterized as “bad” by 22 % of enterprises (in Q III this index was 13 %, and in Q II – 11 %), and as “very bad” – by 5 % (against 2% in the previous quarters). As a result, the sum of estimates “bad” and “very bad” reached its historic high of the last five years, just like the balance of estimates. In this connection, the balance lost 17 points after Q III and now firmly stays on the negative side – once again, the share of enterprises in Russian industry experiencing a good situation has become definitely lower than that of those in a “bad” or “very bad” situation. Especially poor are the estimates presented in light industry (the balance being -35 points), construction (-33), the chemical and petrochemical industry (-27), and machine-building (-26).
The forecasts of changes in the financial situation of enterprises during one quarter plummeted by 40 points. While in Q III 2008 28 % of enterprises were hoping to improve their financial status against 10 % of those who were expecting it to become worse, in Q IV the forecasts became directly opposite: 13 % against 32 %. Another 3 % of enterprises expect that their situation is going to deteriorate to a critical point. The resulting balance nearly represents a historic low, more pessimistic fore casts having been registered only once before, in Q IV 1996. The share of those hoping to maintain their present (not very bright, by the way) situation went down to 52 %. Less hopes for financial stability were recorded only in 1995.
The prospects are even worse The large-scale injections of money into the Russian economy do not reach the majority of industrial enterprises. Thus, producers are anticipating a dramatic drop in demand, and so are planning a similarly dramatic reduction of their output.
State credits have failed to provide a means of salvation to industrial enterprises. In November the availability of borrowable funds was markedly reduced. While in Septemberе 2008 credits were normally available to 64 % of enterprises (the historic high – 80 % - having been recorded in August 2007), and their availability “below the norm” was reported by 22 %, only two month later the situation was reversed. At present, normal availability of loans is enjoyed only by 22 % of enterprises, “below the norm” – already by 63 %. In a situation of financial crisis, to obtain borrowable money is easiest for those in the food industry (39 % of them still report normal availability of credits) and for petrochemical (31 %) enterprises.
The forecasted changes in demand dropped in November by 20 points. While a month ago the data cleared of seasonality were demonstrating only a zero growth of anticipated sales, in November the forecasts became markedly negative (-22 b. p.), while raw data demonstrated an absolute historic low – no so bleak forecast of changes in demand were recorded in Russian industry even in the 1990s. An absolute drop in sales is forecasted in all the branches, the one exception probably being the food industry, where their growth at a rate representing a historic low is anticipated. Especially pessimistic are the forecasts in machine-building (-28 b. p.) and light industry (-25 b. p.).
The production plans of enterprises dropped in November at once by 36 points, and reached their historic lows of 1992 – 2008 in terms of raw data, and of the last fourteen years – when cleared of seasonality. More pessimistic plans of output were recorded in industry only in 1994. In the next few months only the food industry can hope to avoid a reduction in output, while it is going to be demonstrated by the other branches, and particularly dramatically by machine-building and chemical and petrochemical industries.
External trade N. Volovik Despite the ongoing reduction in the rate of growth of the world economy and the worsening of the world market situation, the growth rates of the major indices of Russia’s external trade remain high.
In November 2008, yet another round of consultations concerning the Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) took place in Geneva. The Federation Council and the State Duma approved the Law “On the Introduction of Alterations into Article 3 of the Law “On the Customs Tariff”, thereby changing the methodology of calculating the export duty for oil.
In September 2008, Russian external trade continued its rapid growth. The September 2008, external trade turnover calculated in accordance with the balance–of–payments methodology amounted to 71.2 bn USD, which meant that it rose 50.7 % on September 2007. In September 2008, Russian exports grew by 53.9 % on September 2007, their value amounting to 43.8 bn USD. The September 2008 import of goods into Russia increased by 45.5.8 % on September 2007 – to 27.4 bn USD. By comparison with August 2008, exports dropped 3.84 %, while imports rose 1.28 %.
In September, the RF positive balance of trade increased to 16.4 bn USD, or by 69.6 % on September 2007. At the same time, by comparison with August 2008, the positive balance of trade dropped 11.3 %.
In September 2008, the world market situation continued to deteriorate, with prices for oil, coal and non-ferrous metal all going down.
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