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Russian Regions: Where the Growth Resides

In 2018, the rate of economic growth accelerated to 2.3% in Russia, but it is projected to slow down to around 1.5% in 2019. However, according to a report published by Sberbank CIB, macroeconomic dynamics vary from region to region, and the difference persists. While Russia’s economy continues to grow, the growth in 2018 comes from a smaller number of regions compared to a year earlier.

The current national policy is aimed at revitalizing investment and business activity. Research shows a direct correlation between the share of investments in the gross regional product (GRP) and the rates of economic growth, so the authors of the report conclude that the key factor for stable regional growth is investment. Of all the companies that might benefit from extra investments, the Sberbank CIB experts single out steel manufacturers as they can expect a considerable positive effect from national infrastructure projects.

Large infrastructure projects are aimed at eliminating bottlenecks that hinder regional economic growth. They are likely to give a short-term boost for economic growth, but long-term growth can only be achieved through investment activity in the private sector. This is why the government’s «great leap» strategy alone is not enough — to ensure regional growth, it is necessary to establish public private partnerships and improve investment climate for the private sector. From a sectoral perspective, the authors of the report believe that GRP growth will come from transportation, logistics and warehousing, and wholesale and retail trade. Unlocking the potential of local manufacturers and agricultural producers will also contribute to the growth.

An analysis of the Ivanov Consumer Confidence Tracker (Sberbank CIB’s special index of consumer sentiment) on a regional scale shows that outside Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the share of listed companies in retail turnover can double in the long term. For the next three years, the experts forecast an average annual increase of 6% in the food products retail turnover in the Russian regions, compared to 5% in Moscow.

Based on another Sberbank’s special index — the Financial Stability Index (FSI) — and statistical data on economic growth and investment dynamics, the experts have made a list of regions with both a high financial stability and a good potential for growth. The FSI is based on a number of indicators such as budget balance, budget self-sustainability, debt level, credit ratings availability, and debt servicing coverage from budget revenues. Research has revealed the following 15 regions with the highest financial stability and the greatest potential for growth: 7 regions of the North West Federal District — Saint Petersburg, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Murmansk Oblast, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Vologda Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, and Kaliningrad Oblast; 4 regions of the Central Federal District — Tver Oblast, Lipetsk Oblast, Kursk Oblast, and Tula Oblast; 1 region of the Far East Federal District — the Sakha Republic (Yakutia); 2 regions of the Ural Federal District — Tyumen Oblast and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug; and 1 region of the South Federal District — Rostov Oblast.

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