Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 109

Russian industrialists are skeptical about the economic initiatives of the new government, and show no sign of optimism about a return to economic growth. That is the picture which emerges from the reports for May from the survey of industrial directors conducted by the Russian Economic Barometer group. (Finansovye izvestia, June 4) Only 17 percent of the directors said they understood the government’s economic policy since the start of the year. A mere 3 percent said they approved it, while 64 percent disapproved. Fully 82 percent of the directors said that their firm’s financial position was bad, up from 68 percent in September. The average factory is running at two thirds of capacity, with stocks of finished goods equal to 94 percent of annual output. Output fell over the first quarter in 51 percent of the enterprises and rose in only 30 percent. Employment dropped in 35 percent and rose in only 3 percent. The highest increase of production was in the fuel sector, where plants reported a 13 percent rise. Two-thirds of the firms had not bought any new equipment for at least two months.