Rosstat data indicate a continued increase in private domestic demand and investment in the first quarter and April-May 2021. Commenting on this statistics, the Ministry of Economy notes that due to the quarantines of 2020, “the annual dynamics … is not indicative” and the comparison with the fourth quarter of 2019, excluding seasonality, will be used to assess the economic recovery.

The dynamics of capital investments in the first quarter of 2021 confirms the data on the double-digit annual growth rate of investment imports (see Kommersant of June 2). Across the circle of organizations, investments grew by 2% versus the first quarter of 2020 and by 5.6% versus the same period in 2019. Taking into account the seasonality, capital investments increased by 5% to the average quarterly value of 2018. The Economy Ministry notes that they were supported by an increase in the profits of organizations and an increase in corporate lending (by 7.3% in annual terms in January-April), and independent analysts mainly attribute the growth of capital investments to the investment demand of the state. In the structure of investments, investments in intellectual property grew faster than others (18.5% by the first quarter of 2020 and 42.9% by the first quarter of 2019), as well as machinery and equipment (3.5% and 6.9%, respectively). Among industries (for large and medium-sized companies), processing, transport, IT, finance and banking were responsible for the bulk of the increase.

The volume of consumer spending of citizens in April, taking into account the seasonality, was 0.5% lower than the pre-pandemic level – purchases of goods exceeded it, but spending on services and catering was 6% lower than it. CMASF notes a slight decrease in food consumption and a rapid growth in demand for non-food products and expects a recovery in demand for services by the end of the year. Sberbank analysts explain the rise in costs and prices by rising wages, the absence of foreign spending and record savings of the population (in cash) in 2020. Although in April the growth of real wages slowed down somewhat, and became slightly negative in the quarter (see graph), the indicator rose by 3.5% to the pre-pandemic level.

Against this background, a steady decline in unemployment continues, and a sharp increase in demand for labor is observed in the CMASF. Unemployment will return to the pre-crisis level (4.7%) in two quarters, said presidential aide Maxim Oreshkin.

Alexey Shapovalov