According to Rosstat, Russian consumer confidence worsened to -7% in 3Q13 (from -6% in 2Q13), with poor readings in almost all components. The age breakdown revealed that the greatest decline was among those aged 50+ and the least among the young (16-29 years old).
On the sub-index level, the index of the expected economic changes in the short term was the key drag, decreasing to -3% during last quarter (from -0.5% in 2Q13), the lowest value since 1Q11. At the same time, the index of past economic changes dropped to -7% (from -5%), the index of expected changes in the level of incomes was down to -2% (from -1%) and the index of past changes to the level of incomes also weakened to -6% (from -5%). The index of favourable timing to make big purchases slightly worsened to -18% (from -17%), while the index of favourable conditions to make savings remained unchanged at -32%.
The lower headline reading for the consumer confidence index in 3Q13 did not come as a surprise, as we had expected it to be low. The global EM sell-off, as well as a hike in regulated tariffs, coupled with the cooling labour market and retail lending, might have dented consumer confidence in the last quarter. Besides, as the poll was performed in August, the rescheduled increase in housing utilities tariffs in Moscow on 1 August might have added to consumers’ concerns.
Also notable was the all-time high for the index of favourable conditions to make savings. That, together with deteriorating conditions for big purchases, suggests that the households savings ratio was increasing. This looks logical, given the current tight monetary policy stance.
Looking ahead, despite headline disinflation (to 5.4% Dec/Dec) and a rather resilient RUB (33.26 by end-2013F), a further rise in the unemployment rate (SA) along with a moderation in wages growth (in both the private and public sectors) are likely to weigh on consumer confidence during 4Q13.