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Russian consumer demand growing – report

Higher real wages have been motivating households to spend more, statistics show

Сonsumer demand in Russia has been growing steadily on the back of higher real wages and record-low unemployment, according to data from Russia’s Tax Service and statistics agency Rosstat.

Statistics showed that in the third quarter of this year, households spent 81.9% of their income on goods and services, compared to 79% a year ago.

Retail trade turnover in September rose 12.2% annually, surpassing market expectations and amounting to over 1 trillion rubles (over $44 billion). Data shows that retail sales, a key gauge of consumer demand, this summer surpassed levels last seen before the West’s major expansion of Ukraine-related sanctions early last year.

Economists forecast that retail turnover in Russia will grow by 5.2% in 2023 after falling by 6% in 2022. However, by the end of the year, consumer activity may start to fade amid rising deposit and lending rates, experts have warned.

READ MORE: Russian retail trade bounces back to pre-sanctions levels – study

Rosstat data showed that the real cash income of the Russian population in the third quarter of 2023 increased by 4.9% in annual terms when considering inflation. Real disposable income, excluding mandatory payments, was also up by 5.1%. At the same time, unemployment in the country remains at a record low level of around 3% despite a lack of workers reported on the labor market.

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