April 10, 2013 / 9:36 AM / 5 years ago

Russian consumer confidence drops in March-Sberbank

* Headline index falls to -8 from -4 in Jan

* High inflation, employment concerns weigh

MOSCOW, April 10 (Reuters) - Russian consumer confidence fell over the past two months due to concerns over persistently high inflation, according to a survey by Sberbank CIB released on Wednesday.

Sberbank-CIB, the investment banking arm of Russia’s top lender Sberbank, said its bi-monthly index of consumer confidence fell to -8 in March from -4 in its inaugural survey in January.

“There is notable deterioration in consumer expectations in terms of personal incomes and the macro outlook in general,” Sberbank-CIB said in a note.

Inflation, which is running at an annual pace of over 7 percent, is the main concern for most respondents, the survey showed, with consumers having grown more cautious about large purchases since January.

The labour outlook has also worsened as the survey showed that only 10 percent of companies were increasing headcount, while 47 percent were either laying off staff or not replacing resignations with new hires.

Growth in household consumption - until recently the main driver of Russia’s economy - slowed sharply since the first half of last year, data showed last month, adding to evidence that the economy is losing momentum. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Douglas Busvine)

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