The June macroeconomic consensus forecast by FocusEconomics analysts (based on data from 47 think tanks, investment banks and rating agencies), published yesterday, did not change for the month in relation to the key indicator – Russia’s GDP growth rate in 2021 (3.2%), but was revised in relation to the structure of its growth. Consumer demand is now expected to recover even faster than GDP, while investment, on the contrary, is expected to recover more slowly.

Against the background of a noticeable accelerated growth in private consumption (see Kommersant of June 7), the indicator is expected to grow by 5.4% in 2021 against 4.6% in April (see chart). Recall that the rapid increase in retail consumption in May (mainly due to non-food products) stimulated the spending of accumulated savings, double-digit lending growth rates and the current travel restrictions. In 2020 alone, citizens did not spend 1.85 trillion rubles on travel. (3.5% of household consumption in 2020) – part of this amount went to domestic spending, analysts at Raiffeisenbank estimate. Recall that such a rapid growth in private consumption even made Finance Minister Anton Siluanov talk about overheating (see Kommersant on June 8).

Consensus investment forecast for 2021, by contrast, was downgraded from 4.2% in April to 3.5%. Despite a noticeable recovery in corporate lending and profit growth in the economy in the first quarter of 2021, we recall that capital investments grew by only 2% amid expanding funding for budget projects, economists at ING note. Such a noticeable revision of the dynamics of private consumption was reflected in the increase in the consensus forecast for imports of goods in 2021, the volume of which was increased to $ 277 billion from $ 271 billion, while the export forecast was lowered to $ 403 billion from $ 405 billion, which accordingly led to a decrease in the contribution to GDP growth in net exports. Meanwhile, in January-May 2021, the Central Bank reports an increase in the trade surplus due to “a more active recovery in the volume of exports of goods compared to imports.” However, a significant role in strengthening the current account was also played by the reduction in the negative balance of services as a result of continuing restrictions on international travel, the regulator notes.

Alexey Shapovalov