CMASF: Russia faces a new era of stagnation

The Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting (CMASF) presented three most likely scenarios for the development of the Russian economy in the coming years. The key conclusion from the report is that Russia is facing a new and rather long era of stagnation — low rates of economic growth, household incomes and labor productivity, coupled with technological and industrial backwardness. It is reported by RBC with reference to the report.

The CMASF starts from the basic condition - maintaining sanctions for the next 10-15 years, the organization notes that it will not work to “wait out” the sanctions in the same way as it was with the pandemic, the restrictions entail more complex structural changes in the economy. The worst scenario that the CMASF allows is “autarky”, when the country will be completely switched to a military footing and will be forced to “do everything on its own”. This scenario is accompanied by a severe technological lag, a decline in the economy and incomes of the population. The probability of such an outcome is estimated not very high, at the level of 13%. However, if the political confrontation with other states continues to escalate, this forecast may become the baseline and the only possible one.

The most likely scenario (47%) of the CMASF is the option with "institutional inertia" - this is approximately what happened to the Russian economy before the war. We are talking about the stagnation of economic relations, low economic growth and falling incomes of the population. The unemployment rate will reach 5.5-6% and will remain at this level until 2030, the growth of investments, as well as the growth of household spending, will be low and will amount to only 2.5% per year.

“The result of such a policy in a qualitatively new environment can be prolonged stagnation, with economic dynamics of about 1.5% per year, with a gradually increasing lag in the areas of technology, the level and quality of life, and national security,” warns the head of the analysis and forecasting of macroeconomic processes Dmitry Belousov.

Only the "gray economy" will actively grow, which will attract imports through informal channels, which will lead to the creation of new informal entrepreneurs and non-systemic elites - by analogy with the 80s. Belousov believes that the emergence of non-systemic elites will lead to a conflict between the "new" and "old", in parallel, the stagnation of the economy and the lack of growth in incomes of the population can lead to social unrest, especially in depressed regions. At the same time, an attempt by the authorities to “stabilize” the situation in the new conditions is likely to lead to destabilization, so Belousov does not see any positive in the “new stagnation”.

As for the target scenario, the CMASF considers the “struggle for growth” (probability of outcome is 40%), which boils down to finding opportunities to continue and increase economic growth using the remaining opportunities for cooperation and cooperation. A special role in these conditions is assigned to business, which will not allow the economic system to "ossify" and help prevent stagnation in the economy and society.

Such a scenario assumes active borrowing of technologies following the example of China, as well as the maximum possible entry into foreign markets in order to avoid total dependence on China as a key trading partner. Under such a scenario, the volume of investments in the Russian economy could grow at a rate of up to 3.5% per year, and the income of Russians — at least by 2.5–3.7% per year. The unemployment rate will remain within the usual limits at the level of 4.5-5%.

“As a result, the economic growth rate will be able to reach 2.5-2.7% over the forecast period, which almost corresponds to the pre-crisis projections of 3%,” the report says.

Thus, under all scenarios, the Russian economy will already behave worse than before the war, and will not be able to return to the previous development trajectory. The only positive is that in 3-4 years, according to the authors of the report, the sanctions regime will begin to succumb to erosion, that is, loopholes will begin to appear that can help in the development of Russia. At the same time, economists interviewed by RBC consider the CMASF forecast to be quite optimistic, noting that the problems are much wider and carry more negative consequences.

“If Russia will fight for a long time and, accordingly, will be under sanctions for a long time, this multiplies the second and third scenarios by zero. In this case, the economy will be much worse than one might imagine: after the inevitable failure of GDP, the quality of recovery growth will be low, as we will not meet the needs of the population and develop something new, but will slowly rot and fill the niches vacated by Western business.” , - Oleg Buklemishev, Associate Professor of the Department of Macroeconomic Policy and Strategic Management of Moscow State University, told the publication.

The chief economist of Alfa-Bank, Natalia Orlova, supported her colleague from Moscow State University: she believes that at the moment the Russian economy is much closer to "autarky" than to any other scenario. “I would not consider a modernization scenario at all, because it is impossible for an economy that does not have access to external technologies. With the highest probability, a scenario involving a decrease in labor productivity will be implemented, ”Orlova is sure.

Success in the "inertial" scenario will depend not so much on Russia as on its partners, who will either be able to supply technology and equipment and help provide at least support for the current economic model, or not.

American Daily Newspaper

Learn More →