Rosstat has published its September statistics pack on economic conditions.
Unemployment increased to 5.3%, from 5.2% in August. More importantly, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked up to 5.6%.
Real retail sales growth slowed 1.0pp to 3.0% YoY, the second lowest point since February 2010, owing to a simultaneous moderation in food and non-food components. This tightly coincides with the gradual deceleration in retail lending (to just 31% YoY in September), persistent drop in car sales, stagnant consumer imports and rather odd strength of food inflation (partly due to an increase in dairy products and eggs). For 3Q13, the annual increase stayed flat at 3.8% vs. 1H13, substantially lower than the 6.9% YoY in 9mo12.
Investment continued to contract, shrinking 1.6% YoY, despite the favourable base effect. This greatly surprised us and consensus to the downside.
Construction declined 2.9% YoY after the 3.1% YoY drop a month ago.
Real wage growth advanced to 8.2% YoY, from the upwardly revised figure in August (to 6.8% YoY).
With a sharp deceleration in retail sales, declining employment and contracting investments, September’s monthly data package draws a worrisome picture and puts a downside risk to our 2013 GDP growth outlook (1.7% YoY). The only bright spot — a pick-up in wages growth — also seems a temporary phenomenon. Policy-wise, however, the CBR might still take comfort in GDP growth ticking upslightly on the back of harvest normalisation and surging gas exports.