Sergey Tsukhlo, Head of Business Surveys Department at the Gaidar Institute, provided Kommersant with a composite index of industry forecasts based on surveys of industry executives.

As of 18 July, the Gaidar Institute's (IEP) Industrial forecasting index had fallen below this year's February mark. Earlier, another indicator, the Industrial optimism index, hit a new low in a current crisis. A decline in industrialists' optimism was registered in all 3 indicators used in calculating the index, i.e. demand forecasts, output plans and hiring.

Demand forecasts have actually deteriorated to February levels. “After a very strong bounce in April (which was also the highest on record), the forecasts for companies in the next three months failed to continue the positive trend. In May-July the balance of these forecasts persisted in the range of -13 to -10 p.p. There has never been such a 'hang-up' at the exit from previous crises," said the author of the estimates, Sergey Tsukhlo.

Following the decline in actual demand and sales plans, industrial output plans, which showed the "plus" position by May, also began to fall. In June-July they lost 14 p.p. and once again (after 3 months of positive values) became negative. The intention to reduce output prevailed amongst managers of enterprises. Hiring plans declined in July for the first time since the start of the crisis, showing, however, the most modest shrinking compared to other enterprise plans and forecasts: after 3 months of recovery (by 24 p.p.), the July decline was only 3 p.p. "This relatively modest pessimism of hiring plans is explained by an increased shortage of personnel in industry at the start of Q3. However, even in April 2022, enterprises did not assess the current number of employees as excessive. Then, the balance of estimates only became zero after the record shortage of personnel registered in January 2022," Sergey Tsukhlo quoted data.

Enterprises' investment plans remained pessimistic in July after a sharp decline in June by only 8 p.p. better than the March dip. Industrialists' pricing forecasts became inflationary again in July after deflationary values in June (see chart).