Rosstat recently published its December statistics on economic conditions, showing that unemployment increased to 5.6 percent from 5.4 percent in November, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also ticked up to 5.6 percent.
Real retail sales growth decelerated 0.7pp to 3.8 percent year-on-year on the food component. Investment in fixed capital growth managed to stay in the black with a 0.3 percent year-on-year increase, likely owing to the favorable base effect.
Construction declined 3.0 percent year-on-year after a modest 0.3 percent year-on-year drop a month ago, and real wage growth slowed to 1.9 percent year-on-year from the downwardly revised figure in November to 4.1 year-on-year. Agriculture output growth normalized at 1.4 percent annual growth.
"The weather-supported pick-up in manufacturing, coupled with the 15 percent growth in agricultural output, bodes well for our forecast of an 'optical' pick-up in GDP growth last quarter and annual FY13 GDP growth of 1.4 percent year-on-year," VTB Capital analysts Vladimir Kolychev and Daria Isakova said. "However, sluggish wages growth in December heralds a potential leg-down in consumption as the public sector continues to adjust to tighter budget constraints, while the private sector's focus remains firmly on cost optimization. Policy-wise, the report is likely to be neutral for the CBR and we expect the regulator to remain on hold over the coming months."
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