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A considerable decrease in the promising projects in construction continues to have a negative effect on machinery and equipment production, which are used in housing and road construction. Besides, the processes of transformation o financial flows in the currency savings and a sharp outflow of the private capital also had a negative effect.

- - RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES The contraction of the consumers demand, deficit of liquid funds necessary to purchase raw materials, high costs of credit resources as the main factors of the sharp decrease in consumer complex production has been operating since the second half of 2008. In JanuaryFebruary 2009 the index of textile and sewing production made 77.6%, of leather, leather goods and footwear production 96.3% to the corresponding period of the year. Taking into account the fact that during last three years the proportion of the domestic production has been constantly decreasing in the structure of the resources of the retail trade turnover and was equal to approximately 55% in 2008, the sharp decrease in foodstuffs production and non-food goods production in the environment of the import of foodstuffs and raw materials for their production remaining at the same level may have a negative effect on the indices of the retail market functioning.

In February 2009 ther was a slow-dpwn of decrease rates observed as compared with January 2009. However taking into account chock drop of the production in November January 2009 it is quite difficult to make any estimations concerning the depth of the fall and the further development of the situation. Under existing trends, according to the forecast of the Ministry for Economic Development, the drop of the industrial production in 2009 may reach the figure of 7.4%, and that of the investments in fixed asses 13.8%.

under such conditions the GDP in 2009 will reduce by 2.2% versus 2008 and the level of the general unemployment will reach 7.8% of the economically active population.

RUSSIAN INDUSTRY IN MARCH RUSSIAN INDUSTRY IN MARCH S.Tsukhlo Live data of the situation surveys demonstrate that positive trends of the first two months of the year remained undeveloped. The industry lies low and seems to be getting used to such a situation. The dynamics of the demand, estimations of the sales volumes and the stocks of finished goods demonstrate that there are no sound grounds for the output growth in the Russian industry yet. This makes the enterprises refrain from more intensive growth of prices and once again apply the redundancy practice. At the same time on average the enterprises do not plan further decrease of the output.

Official Statistics of February As compared with January 1009, in February 2009 the index of industrial production was equal to 106.4%, and as compared with February 2008 96.9%. These figures were unexpectedly favorable. The majority of the experts earlier predicted that in February the crisis in the Russian industry would aggravate. Certainly when one compares January with February, one should be very cautious: there are not so many workdays in both of the months. Upon exclusion of the seasonal factor, according to the estimation of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-term Forecasting, in February the output went up by 3.9% versus January 2009 (in January 2009 the output decreased by 7.1% versus December 2008). Thus, the state statistics reported the long-expected (and at least local) minimum of the crisis in the middle of March. The same result was registered by the index of the industrial optimism by the IET as log ago as January, 211.

Decrease in Demand Becoming Normal In March the trends that were positive in the environment of crisis did not develop. It seems that the industry remains low and is getting used to it.

The demand continues decreasing intensively, though not as much as in November-December 2008. the initial rates of the demand decrease improve only by 8 points in March as compared with February (when the improvement was 32 points as compared with January). The exclusion of seasonality demonstrated the stabilization of this figure in the 1st quarter 2009 at the level of -36..-34 balance points. In 1998 this figure dropped to -45..-points, and in 1995 to 60 points.

The forecasts for changes in the demand also stabilized in February-March. Initial (uncleared) balance became zero, that is the proportion of the responses on the expected growth of the sales was equal to the proportion of the responses on their expected decrease.

Upon exclusion of seasonality the balance of the last two months was corrected to -17 balance points (improvement as compared with November minimum by 8 points). The hopes for the increase in sales in forthcoming months are quite scarce and stopped increasing (improving).

Stabilization of the demand decrease rates froze the estimations for the sales volumes.

In the 1st quarter 2009 the satisfaction with the demand stabilized at the level of 23%, which gives the evidence that the Russian enterprises are getting used to the situation.

The highest satisfaction with the demand was registered in March in foodstuffs production (48%, March 2008 73%) and chemistry industry (27%, March 2008 74%), as well 1 http://www.iet.ru/files/text/industrial_survey/IPO-21.01.09.pdf - - RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES as non-ferrous metallurgy (26%, March 2008 81%). In machine-building industry 21% of enterprises are satisfied with the volumes of sales (March 2008 59%). The minimum of the index was registered in the wood processing complex (6%, March 2008 68%) and construction industry (2%, March 2008 57%).

Estimations of the finished goods stocks stopped worsening in January 2009, and even improved by 7 points in March. Now the balance (above-below the norm) is equal to +points (the average balance of 2008 being +11). The proportion of the estimations normal went up by 52% by the end of the quarter. Among the industries, the leaders by the amount of the excessive finished goods stock are wood processing complex (balance of +57), light industry (+39) and chemistry (+30) production. Hus, the enterprises start coping with the crisis and having sold the stocks are trying to make a basis for the future increase in output. The demand though does not offer much help so far.

Output and Prices In March the intensity of output change (according to the initial data) became positive, that is the industry produced more than in February. The growth of balance as compared with February figure was 17 points (in February the balance improved as compared with the worst crisis month so far January by 47 points at once). The proportion of responses on the increase in the output reached 34% in March and became equal to the average level of pre-crisis summer of 2008. The proportion of the responses on the decrease in the output also sank to the pre-crisis level of 21% versus 62% in January. The formal procedures of the exclusion of the seasonality corrected the all-industry growth rates of the output to the negative values, which is only by 1 point better than that of February.

There are no considerable rates of changes in the output (that is the decrease) obtained according to the initial data in any of the branches of the industry. In all cases the balances are either positive (the production is growing) or very near zero (the output has stabilized).

The intensity of the growth is especially high in chemistry and petrochemistry industry, construction industry and foodstuffs production. The output has obviously begun to grow in the machine-building as well.

Production plans of enterprises worsened in March. Whereas in February the balance of plans for changes in the output reached +15 balance points, in March this figure lowered to +7 points. That is in the forthcoming months the growth is still more likely, but it will not be as intensive as it was planned a month ago. The exclusion of the seasonality demonstrated the stabilization of the production plans in the Russian industry at the level of the moderate decrease in demand.

The period of intensive decrease of prices in the Russian industry has finished. In March the initial rates of changes in the sales prices was zero (in December 2008 the balance reached the absolute minimum level over the whole period of monitoring, being -24 points):

the proportion of the responses on the growth of prices was equal to the proportion of the responses on the decrease of prices. The main part of the enterprises (75%) has returned to the policy of unchanged prices. As to the branches of industry, only in the wood processing complex and construction industry the prices continued to decrease.

In the forthcoming months the intensity of the increase in prices is unlikely to grow. The unjustified hopes for the increase in the demand make enterprises pursue more moderate price policy. This is especially true for the light industry and foodstuffs production, as well as for ferrous metallurgy.

Plans for reduction of the staff in the industry Obvious positive dynamics lacking, the enterprises have to turn to the practice of the reduction of the staff once again, or at least to plan such reduction. On the whole throughout RUSSIAN INDUSTRY IN MARCH the industry the proportion of the intentions to discharge the staff increased up to 35% in March, nearly returning to the level of October 2008 January 2009, when the crisis surged the Russian industry. But since the speed and the depth of different branches emerging in the crisis are not equal, the dynamics of the redundancy plans is specific for each branch.

Table SHARE OF ENTERPRISES INTENDING TO REDUCE STAFF NEXT 2-3 MONTHS AS BROKEN BY BRANCHES, AS PERCENTAGE 2008 Branches of industry Jan Apr July Oct Jan Feb March Industry, total 7 6 15 38 36 29 Metallurgy 9 2 27 62 43 19 Chemistry, petrochemistry 18 1 17 28 32 22 Machine-building 4 6 14 36 36 32 Wood processing complex 2 13 10 26 43 43 Construction materials 16 2 11 43 29 31 Light industry 5 19 5 36 36 38 Foodstuffs production 10 16 13 51 16 13 Only in wood processing complex, construction industry and light industry there were obviously positive trends in redundancy plans registered. These branches of industry passed the peak of the dismissals in the previous months, which make their current plans less blood-thirsty. This is especially so for the industry of construction materials that obviously counts on the livening of construction with the start of spring-summer season. The light industry that was characterized by rather high and stable redundancy plans in the first crisis months has now lowered them by more than one and half times.

The plans for dismissals in the foodstuffs production have reduced by more than threefold as compared with December 2008. Now the discharges are likely at 17% of enterprises of the industry. In February, though, this figure was equal to 13%, which was the absolute minimum for all the branches in all the months of the crisis. The enterprises of chemistry and petrochemistry industry also have not managed to maintain the positive trends: after the dismissal plans clearly lowered in February, in March the intentions went up and nearly returned to the maximum figures of the crisis. However the dynamics of redundancy plans was the worst in the machine-building industry. In March the intentions in this branch of industry were the worst when compared with all the months of the crisis (20082009) and when compared with March plans of nearly all other branches of industry. But it is in the metallurgy where the biggest employment lay-offs are possible.

Table SHARE OF ENTERPRISES INTENDING TO REDUCE STAFF NUMBER NEXT 2-3 MONTHS, AS BROKEN BY THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, AS PERCENTAGE 2008 Number of employed, people Jan Apr July Oct Jan Feb March Industry, total 7 6 15 38 36 29 1500 6 8 7 32 35 32 5012000 6 8 12 30 39 27 >2000 8 5 17 44 35 28 The comparison of the redundancy plans by the size of the enterprises also reveals certain differences. Small (up to 500 employees) enterprises gradually lower the aggressiveness of the plans. In this category of enterprises the maximum plans for dismissals was - - RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES observed in January 2009, the improvement currently being 10 points. However the plans to reduce the number of the staff still dominate over the plans to increase it, that is the dismissals will go on, though they will not be as intensive as before. In the group of mediumscale enterprises (501-2000 employees) the maximum of the plans for dismissals was also observed in January 2009, after which the drop by 12 points followed. Now however the enterprises of this category have once again decided to expand the practice of dismissals, not as widespread as in January, but still clearly bigger than in February. The situation in the category of the large-scale (more than 2000 employees) enterprises is the worst. Earlier they forecast the biggest employment layoffs than other categories (even in July and especially in October 2008). Now they are ready to return to the same scales of redundancy once again.

No new credits, old ones difficult to repay The availability of credits for the Russian industrial enterprises has but slightly changed in March. 24% of producers have the normal access to the borrowed funds (the minimum of the crisis observed in December 2008 being 17%).

In March the banks are most favorable to the enterprises of the light industry (34% having the normal access), chemistry and petrochemistry industry (33%) and foodstuffs production (31%). In the machine-building industry only 24% of plants have a normal access to the credits, the maximum figure for the branch being 80%. The average data on the accessibility of credits in the first quarter of 2009 reveal the preferences of the banks by branches of industry in the environment of the first months when the real sector is aware of the crisis. The predisposition of financiers differs by more than two times basing on the branch of the industry the potential borrower belongs to.

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