The Ministry of Industry and Trade is changing the procedure for issuing preferential loans for the purchase of priority products, excluding from it foreign equipment for the production of electronics and its components. The changes should be adopted by the end of the year, but banks have already begun to refuse concessional loans. Experts’ opinions are divided: some are confident that during the operation of the mechanism, a surplus of components has formed on the market, others believe that raising rates will slow down industrial development in the Russian Federation.
In mid-October, banks stopped accepting applications from organizations for preferential loans for the purchase of foreign equipment for the production of equipment, including Chinese, a source among manufacturers told Kommersant. “Instead of providing the service, banks issue a new version of government decree 895, where only horses, chickens and cows remain among the priority products,” he claims. A Kommersant source among computing equipment manufacturers confirmed the information and added that in addition to equipment, organizations will not be able to receive preferential loans for microelectronics components.
Government Resolution No. 895 was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in May 2022. The document implies that companies can apply for preferential loans to purchase products from the priority list; the difference will be paid to banks by the state. The list of priority goods included, in particular, soldering equipment, lamps, chemical elements used in electronics, livestock and much more. Previously, banks had already stopped issuing preferential loans to electronics manufacturers under Resolution No. 407 due to the exhaustion of funds for subsidies (see Kommersant of November 3).
The Ministry of Industry and Trade refused to comment on the new edition of the resolution, but stated that “at the moment in the Russian Federation, industrial products are being replaced by domestic companies or companies from friendly countries, as well as the restoration of import supplies.” “These circumstances, among other things, make it possible to focus efforts on supporting Russian manufacturers, as previously repeatedly emphasized,” the ministry explained.
Benefits are really not needed, because the market has already formed an “oversupply of priority products,” agrees Kommersant’s interlocutor in the computer market: “There are too many imports now, so we will return to the previous market conditions; before the start of the military operation, the loan rate reached 20 %”. According to Kommersant’s source, the new version of the resolution is being agreed upon and will be adopted by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Sberbank assured Kommersant that they continue to work within the framework of the resolution: “In accordance with the current terms of the resolution on loan agreements, a preferential interest rate is applied to the amount of financing provided under the loan agreement until October 30 as part of working capital financing for imported goods or until December 31, 2023 to finance an import contract for the purchase of products as part of the investment project.”
Preferential lending was important during the period of component shortages, when companies created “buffer stocks” in the face of increasing delivery times, notes Ivan Pokrovsky, executive director of the Association of Electronics Developers and Manufacturers: “Now terms are normalizing, prices for many groups of components are falling.” According to him, companies have already begun to reduce purchases.
Director of Promobit (manufacturer of servers and storage systems) Maxim Koposov clarifies that among manufacturers of radio electronics and computer equipment, the benefits according to the resolution were not in great demand: “More often, companies used more targeted industry support measures.” Rates for companies that used loans will increase, he admits, but by no more than 3-5 percentage points: “The costs of organizations will increase, but this will not greatly affect the development of industry in the Russian Federation.” At the same time, in his opinion, the situation could seriously affect the production of consumer equipment.