Economists and government officials are trying to figure out what has caused a significant slowdown in import growth in March. This can be a signal of lower investment demand and a consequence of the growth in demand for the products of Russian manufacturers.
Import growth slowed sharply in March. According to the ministry, it grew by only 5.7% in annual terms — to $ 28.5 billion from $ 26.9 billion in March last year. In the middle of last year, growth exceeded 40%. According to the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexei Klepach slowdown in industry and the general reason of imports of all points to the sinking of investment demand, which slowed the growth of the entire economy.
But economists believe that decrease in imports — is, on the contrary, a positive signal. Not only does it have a positive impact on domestic production in the short term, but can even change the entire structure of economic growth.
Sergey Pukhov of the Center for the Development of the Higher School of Economics, he tried to figure out due to what product groups are reduced imports:
- The main imports from foreign countries is engineering products.
- Most of the increase is accounted for the category of "ground transportation", mainly cars. Strongly falling into crisis (almost four times in a few months) the import of foreign cars in recent years, showed the strongest growth trend.
- With the implementation of the pent-up demand, rising gradually began to fade, and in the middle of 2011 was close to stagnation. It seems that in March, imports of foreign cars slowed down even more, which could be due to the accumulated reserves of vehicles imported in 2011, but at least there are no more importation of vehicles to be re-accelerate.
- Food imports (14% of total imports from foreign countries) stagnated since the middle of last year, and the government’s measures taken to protect domestic consumers, once again suggest that this trend should continue.
- The upward trend in imports of chemical products (16% of imports) gradually fades, mainly due to reduction of import of drugs. Also reduced imports of textiles and shoes.
Elena Abramova, general director of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting:
"In March, still not available, they will appear at the beginning of May, and that there is now, it’s evaluation. Based on the preliminary customs statistics data on imports — 5.6% increase over March — it is quite a lot. We had a crisis when imports of goods fell by some 70%, after which it was restored. And of course, he was recovering rapidly.
The fact that the growth rate of imports declined, it’s not bad, but good. For us, the growth of imports — this is a very big problem. He scores, of course, the domestic production.
Now, if we declined, for example, (which is not) import mashinooborudovaniya, it would not be very good. Because the modernization of industrial apparatus is not over yet. It is only in certain industries begins, and this requires imported equipment.
If the decline of imports of "other": chemistry, metallurgy — this is positive, it means that they will not clog China and Ukraine products from our manufacturers. The same thing — with food. As for the components that are bringing in here for the automotive industry, they are important enough for us. And if their imports will fall heavily, all of these new plants will not be able to work. "
I agree with this assessment chief economist of the "Alfa-Bank" Natalia Orlova:
"The slowdown in import growth — a positive sign that shows the growth of demand for domestic Russian manufacturers, and it can significantly improve the structure of the economic growth of the Russian economy.
True, this factor has affected stocks: in the past year, many companies imported in reserve, and now sell these products. This means that the import reduction may be only temporary. "