27 Dec 2022 15:48

Slump in consumer demand in Russia has bottomed out, but recovery so far slower than expected - Belousov

MOSCOW. Dec 27 (Interfax) - The slump in consumer demand in Russia has bottomed out, with recovery under way, but only at half the speed the government anticipated, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said.

He said speeding up that recovery was a government task for 2023.

"Our consumer market is recovering very slowly. And we see that the situation is near stagnation," he said told the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

Belousov said there was growth, but it is was slower than expected. "My mission is for it to recover, for seasonally adjusted indexes to be approximately 0.7-0.8-1% per month. Experience suggests that such a path is optimal at the recovery stage, not some kind of supernatural one. We are now recovering at approximately 0.2-0.5%. That is, I think, about half the pace that we would like," he said.

He said the reason for the slow recovery in consumer demand was the slow growth of real wages against the backdrop of low unemployment and a drop in consumer lending.

"Consumer lending has practically been curtailed in our country. It was such a powerful factor in supporting consumer demand, and now it has been reduced to zero for a number of reasons," he said.

"Consumption really is a serious problem. This is a task that we have to solve in 2023," Belousov said.