Russia's manufacturing sector contracts further in MarchStaff writer ▼ | April 2, 2016
The contraction in Russia's manufacturing sector intensified in March as companies continued to cut jobs, a Markit survey of purchasing managers showed.
State of industry Russian factories are in the midst of a worsening downturn
"Russian factories are currently in the midst of a worsening downturn," Samuel Agass, an economist at Markit, said in the PMI report.
The monthly report contrasts with optimistic statements recently made by top officials. Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said the economy will return to growth in the short term, but the PMI data suggest the contraction in the manufacturing sector could persist.
The survey showed that output and new order volumes contracted in March, which companies blamed on higher output prices.
At the same time, the manufacturing sector cut employee numbers at the fastest pace in 14 months.
"If the current sluggish market environment continues over the next few months, firms will be looking to the Bank of Russia to provide some stimulus in order to revive the underperforming economy," Mr. Agass said.
The central bank has been reluctant to ease monetary policy so far, citing high inflationary risks. ■