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January statistics report – also watch weekly CPI

The monthly economic report for January 2013, which includes statistics on the growth in real retail sales, fixed capital investment, real and nominal wages, and the unemployment rate, is due out on 19-21 February. Rosstat is also due to release the weekly CPI data for 12-18 February this Wednesday.

The weak economic picture is likely to remain in the spotlight. In our view, poor growth rates are only likely to recover in 2H13 once the CBR’s growth-friendly actions in April and RUB 100bn investments in infrastructure projects from National Wealth Fund take effect on the real economy.

On the retail sales front, the recent improvement in the food component will likely come to an end on the sharp rise in alcohol and tobacco prices, while the growth in non-food sales could well remain unchanged (vs. December) as retail lending growth was still strong (just a fraction below 40% YoY) in January. The latest car sales data (+4.8% YoY and 0% MoM SA) and PMIs were mixed.

Preliminary customs data on imports implies that investment growth in January might pick up a bit. However, we shall be looking to see if the high base effect pushes the YoY increase in investment lower in 1Q13 (the MoM SA numbers are likely to be close to zero).

In addition, the unemployment rate likely rose to 5.8% a month ago after the sharp improvement in December, mainly due to unfavourable seasonality. To note, PMIs for January guide for poor employment growth in both the manufacturing and services sectors.

Among the other things to watch this week is the weekly CPI, which might indicate slower average daily growth than we have seen over previous weeks since we expect the second round effect of the hike in minimum vodka prices to decay.

Maxim Oreshkin, Daria Isakova
VTB Capital analyst

CPI, Rosstat, CBR, ruble, PMI

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