The bulk of foreign companies see the ruble’s devaluation as the main negative factor affecting their business in Russia, Managing Director of GfK Russia Alexander Demidov said Tuesday.
The data is based on the survey by the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in cooperation with GfK Russia in April 2016, aimed at gauging the confidence level of European companies doing business in Russia, as well as studying their intentions regarding business growth and their perception of the local investment climate. Eighty-nine top-managers from AEB member companies took part in face-to-face and online interviews.
“It may seem that the devaluation should have substantially eased the operations of foreign companies (in Russia) but this never happened. The devaluation of the ruble has adversely affected (the operations of) 74% of companies… On the other hand quite a few companies – 19% – say the ruble’s devaluation has had a positive effect on them,” Demidov said.
According to Managing Director, economic sanctions, crude prices, counter-sanctions and import substitution are also among the most important negative factors that have affected operations of foreign companies in Russia.
According to the respondents of the AEB survey, the key negative factors that are impacting the country’s economic development are as follows: low oil prices (87%), US and EU sanctions against Russia (87%), and Russian counter-sanctions (67%), ruble devaluation (60%).
On the whole the results of the AEB and GfK survey demonstrate that European business is rather optimistic about the middle (3-5 year) and long term (6-10 year) prospects for the Russian economy, AEB said Tuesday. “Companies consider that Russia is an important market due to its significant potential, large size and positive development (93%, 91% and 86% correspondingly mention these reasons for entering the Russian market),” the report said.
Due to the improvement of short and middle-term expectations, top managers of European companies reported more optimism regarding their company performance in 2016 in Russia. 70% expect turnover to grow this year; this indicator is much higher than in 2015 (55%), and marks a return to the level of Q1 2014 (72%). In 2016, 52% companies expect profits to grow in Russia in the next three years (40% in 2015, and 52% in 2014), AEB said.
In 2016, the integrated AEB-GfK Index grew by 14 points from 2015 and now stands at 120 points out of 200 possible, which is a shift to positive expectations. In 2015 the index stood at 106 points, in 2014 at 115.