Category Archives: Russian PMI

4/1/16: Russian PMI in 4Q 2015: Signalling Continued Weaknesses

Having Russian PMIs for December 2015 allows us to take a look at the economy quarterly performance signals. As noted in the previous post ( with the decline in output reflected across both manufacturing production and services activity, Russian economy’s composite PMI averaged 49.1 in 4Q 2015 which is much worse than 50.4 average for 3Q 2015, suggesting that not only did the economy failed to attain stabilisation, but that growth might have turned more negative in 4Q 2015.

Let’s take a closer look at the quarterly averages by sector.

Russian Manufacturing PMI for 4Q 2015 stood at 49.7, which is a gain on 48.4 in 3Q 2015 and marks the strongest quarterly reading since 4Q 2014, but also marks the fourth consecutive quarter of sub-50 readings. The weaknesses in Manufacturing are especially troubling, as the sector is broadly targeted for imports substitution - a major policy shift by the Government since the start of 2015. Making matters worse, the sector should have benefited from strong ruble depreciation over the last 12 months, which - as it appears so far - did not lead to substantial increase in exporting activity. In part, this reflects weaknesses in global demand, but in part it reflects structural problems in Russian manufacturing that find goods supplied by the sector of generally non-competitive quality for global markets, even amidst improved price competitiveness.

Overall, we now have four consecutive quarters of sub-50 readings in Manufacturing sector - for the first time since 3Q 2008-1Q 2009 period.

Russian Services PMI for 4Q 2015 stood at 48.5, down sharply on 50.7 reading in 3Q 2015 and marking the weakest reading in the series since the start of 2Q 2015.Disappointingly, 4Q reading for Services sector broke two consecutive quarters of above 50 readings and done so sharply. Since the start of 1Q 2014, the sector has now posted sub-50 readings in 5 out of 8 quarters, and it managed to post statistically significant readings above 50 in only two quarters.

The above has meant that the composite activity index (distinct from Composite PMI) for Russian stood at 93.9 in 4Q 2015, which is an improvement on 90.3 in 3Q 2015, but marks fifth consecutive quarter of the overall production growth being negative (across combined services and manufacturing sectors). While 4Q composite indicator was the strongest in three quarters, it remains extremely weak (statistically significantly below zero growth marker of 100) and the third weakest of all quarters since the start of 3Q 2009.

On the net, therefore, while Russian economy posted some 4Q signals of growth consistent with less sharp contraction across combined Services and Manufacturing sectors, than in 2Q-3Q 2015, the deterioration in growth conditions in the economy in 4Q 2015 remained pronounced and this strongly suggests that we did not witness stabilisation of the Russian economy in 4Q 2015.

Stay tuned for analysis of BRIC PMIs next.

4/1/16: Russia Services & Manufacturing PMIs: December 2015

Russian PMIs are out for December 2015, so here is monthly data reading:

Russian Manufacturing PMIs posted a deterioration in sector performance in December, falling to 48.7 from 50.1 in November. This reverses two consecutive months of above 50 readings in October and November. It is worth noting that October-November readings were not statistically distinct from 50.0. On a quarterly basis, 4Q 2015 average reading was 49.7, which is better than 48.4 average for 3Q 2015, but still below 50.0 line. Overall December reading was the weakest since August 2015 and signals that the much anticipated stabilisation of the Russian economy did not take place in December.

Per Markit release: “Leading the deterioration in business conditions at Russian manufacturers was a fall in production. The rate of contraction quickened to the fastest since May 2009, with the majority of panellists linking this to a drop in new order intakes. As a result, a lower volume of post-production inventories was recorded. Meanwhile, Russian manufacturers continued to shed jobs during December. Falling employment has been reported in every survey period since July 2013, with the rate of contraction quickening to the sharpest in three months. The decline in staff numbers was matched by a solid deterioration in outstanding business volumes. Backlogs of work have been depleted in each of the past 34 survey periods. Elsewhere, incoming new orders slipped into decline in December, ending a three-month sequence of growth. However, the drop in new work was marginal and centred on intermediate goods producers. Data suggested that the main source of weakness was external, as export orders were down sharply.”

Chart to illustrate:

Russian Service PMI also reported a fall in output marking the third successive month of declines, driven by a slight decrease in new business levels. Job cuts continued in the sector as outstanding business deteriorated. The headline seasonally adjusted Russia Services Business Activity Index fell to 47.8 in December from already contractionary 49.8 in November. In 4Q 2015, average Services PMI reading was 48.5 against 50.7 in 3Q 2015, showing stronger deterioration in growth conditions in the sector in 4Q 2015. Current reading of 47.8 is the joint-weakest (with October 2015) for nine months.

Per Markit release: “New business levels at service providers slipped further into decline during December. However, the rate at which new work deteriorated was only marginal. Where a lower volume of new sales was recorded, panellists linked this to a combination of waning demand in the sector and payment difficulties being experienced by customers… With business activity at Russian service providers declining, pressures on operating capacity fell further in December. The rate at which work-inhand depleted eased to the slowest in three months yet remained solid overall. Anecdotal evidence suggested that lower backlogs of work were attributed to a drop in new business. Falling staff numbers have been reported in every month since March 2014, with the latest drop at a faster pace than in November. There was some evidence that lower employment reflected squeezed cash availability at service providers.”

Chart to illustrate:

Finally, Russia’s Composite index slipped into contraction during December, falling to 47.8, from 50.5 in November, with the decline in output reflected across both manufacturing production and services activity. Overall, Russian economy’s composite PMI averaged 49.1 in 4Q 2015 which is much worse than 50.4 average for 3Q 2015.

The data strongly suggests that not only did the economy failed to attain stabilisation, but that growth might have turned more negative in 4Q 2015.

I will be posting on quarterly figures for PMIs next, so stay tuned for more.

1/12/15: Russian Manufacturing PMI: November

Russian Manufacturing PMI released by Markit remained within near-zero growth territory, posting 50.1 in November, down on 50.2 in October. Overall, some positives and key negatives were:

  • Both output and new orders rose at fastest pace in 12 months; 
  • Growth conditions in manufacturing remain extremely sluggish; 
  • New export orders fell “at sharpest rate in seven months”;
  • Workforce continued to contract, as “employment levels have contracted in each of the past 29 survey periods”;
  • Most of uplift in production was signed to agricultural sector production rise (Russian grain crop posted second strongest performance at 117 mL tons through early November, after there record 2014 crop);
  • Majority of new orders increases took place in domestic markets

So overall, Russian Manufacturing showed repeated signs of weak stabilisation, but virtually no signs of recovery.

3/9/15: Russian Manufacturing, Services & Composite PMIs: August

Russia PMI data for Services, Manufacturing and Composite posted sub-50 performance across all three indicators in August, returning the economy back to where it was around June 2015, and erasing the fragile expectations of stabilisation that were based on July data.

As noted in my analysis of BRICs manufacturing PMIs earlier (link here):

Russia Manufacturing PMI fell to 47.9 from 48.3 in July, marking 9th consecutive month of sub-50 readings and worst performance in the sector since May 2015. August move effectively demolished previous expectations of stabilisation in Manufacturing sector in Russia.

Per Markit release: "Operating conditions in the Russian manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate during August amid reports of a deterioration in the economic environment. Output was little changed, while new orders and employment both fell to the greatest degrees since May. Notably, a depreciation in the Russian rouble against the US dollar led to a sharp and accelerated increase in average input prices by raising the cost of imported goods. …The net effect was a decline in demand and a drop off in levels of incoming new business."

Meanwhile, Services PMI posted a disappointing decline from 51.6 in July to 49.1 in August, pushing the index below 50 mark once again. The index fell to its lowest level for the period covering last 5 months.

Per Markit: "The Russian service sector registered a slight fall in business activity during August as incoming new orders were barely changed and excess resources remained evident. Backlogs of work were again cut sharply, placing further downward pressure on staffing levels… Undermining service sector activity was a general lack of growth in incoming new business. Latest data showed that new work was only marginally higher, with companies bemoaning a lack of funds at clients amid evidence of a challenging economic environment.

With booth Manufacturing and Services down, Composite PMI for Russia fell below 50.0 marker in August, reaching 49.3 against 50.9 in August. This marks the second month in the last 3 months of sub-50 readings and August Composite PMI level is at the lowest levels since April 2015.

SUMMARY: As I noted consistently in the past, any sign of stabilisation in Russian economy coming on foot of disappointing 1H 2015 will require several confirmations before we can call a switch in the growth trend. This confirmation (on foot of July upside performance) did not arrive to-date.

5/8/15: Russian Services & Composite PMIs: July 2015

Having covered Russian Manufacturing PMI for July here:, let's take a look at the today's Markit release of Services and Composite PMIs.

Services PMI rose to 51.6 in July compared to 49.5 in June, with new business activity reaching fastest growth in 20 months. On a 3mo average basis, sector performance through July was at 51.3 - showing a marginal rate of recovery, and a major improvement on 3mo average through April 2015 (at 46.0), as well as on 3mo average through July 2014 (48.5).

As chart above shows, Russian Services PMI posted above 50 readings in three out of last four months. However, by historical standards, this expansion is extremely weak.

Per Markit: "The Russian service sector returned to modest growth during July, with activity rising on the back of the strongest gain in new business for over a year-and-a-half. Still, excess capacity remained a problem, with companies again comfortably able to make inroads into their work outstanding despite cutting jobs for a seventeenth month in succession."

The decline in Manufacturing (see link above) meant that the Composite PMI for Russia was weaker than the Services PMI. Nonetheless, Composite PMI reached 50.9 in July, up on 49.5 in June. 3mo average through July is at 50.7 against 3mo average through April at 47.4 and 3mo average through July 2014 at 49.5. Just as with Services PMI, Composite PMI has now posted above 50 readings in three out of four last months.

The above suggests strengthening in the stabilisation and early recovery momentum in the Russian economy, albeit we need a rebound in Manufacturing to above 50.0 reading for a couple of months to confirm robustness of this development. While it does appear the Russian economy is now past the worst period of contraction, calling any recovery will require at least couple of more months of improvements in PMIs.