Economic optimism prevails in Russia

Economic optimism prevails in Russia

The share of Russians expecting economic stabilization in the near future increased to 32.4% in March, according to the results of the RANEPA survey, the Izvestia newspaper reported. In March 2015, it was expected by 24% of respondents, in the spring of last year - 20%.

According to experts, the main reasons are slowing inflation, strengthening the ruble exchange rate and improving the budget situation in the regions.

According to the RANEPA survey, the share of Russians who expect improvement in the economy increased from 7.6% to 13.1% over the year. The share of pessimists, who believe that the decline will last for 1-2 years, decreased from 42% to 29%.

Russia's inflation dropped to a historic low of 4.2% from 12.9%, the ruble rate strengthened to mid-2015 levels, there is a forteenfold decline in the budget deficit of the regions - to 12 billion rubles, Russia's GDP is expected to grow already this year.

According to experts, the situation should improve at the micro level as well. Now the level of poverty remains at the level of the previous year: 13.5% in 2016 compared to 13.3% in 2015 (official data of Rosstat).

The head of Research Center for pension systems and actuarial prediction of the social sphere of the Institute for Social Analysis and Forecasting at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economics and Public Administration, Elena Grishina, said that the poverty level is an indicator with accumulated effect, it will start to improve within several years. According to a conservative forecast for this year, the poverty level of the population will not grow.

World Bank's November 2016 report on the Russian economy noted that the level of poverty in 2017 and 2018 is expected to be 12.2% and 11.8%, respectively.

An associate professor of Stock Markets and Financial Engineering of RANEPA, Vasiliy Yakimkin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Russians' optimism shows their internal conviction that the economic situation is being improved. "The growth rates are positive, we have already emerged from the recession. And as a result, in March retail spending among the population has increased significantly compared to January and February, which also indirectly indicates a positive attitude of the population," he said.

However, the expert clarified that the situation is somewhat different in economic sectors, and people employed in a number of industries still suffer from credit crunching, although overall the level of well-being is slightly increasing. "People's wages are growing in the well-developing sectors: petrochemicals, agriculture, a greenhouse segment. But also there are stagnant industries with fixed or even decreasing wages," Vasily Yakimkin pointed out.

The associate professor of the department of finance, money circulation and credit of RANEPA, Maxim Safonov, drew attention to the emotional component of a positive attitude. "There are a number of factors that in any case allow us to be optimistic, despite the fact that everyone understands the need for a rational approach: it's spring, the anticipation of summer holidays. It works well from the point of view of game theory and the concept of behavioral finance," the economist said.

According to him, the competent information policy also played a role. "The answer to the question of what is more important - losses or acquisitions is also ambiguous. The Russians are more afraid of losses than they are happy with some virtual acquisitions. Therefore, the absence of deterioration as such is already quite an optimistic state. Economic indicators are growing, tariffs are not increasing, interest rates are not changing. Therefore, the population believes that everything is more or less normal," Maxim Safonov noted.