FIGURE MAIN INDICES OF RUSSIA’S FOREIGN TRADE (AS USD BLN.) Main indices of Russia’s foreign trade (as USD bln.) -1997 г. 1998 г. 1999 г. 2000 г. 2001 г. г.
Balance Export Import Source: RF Goskomstat The business situation on world markets began to in the course of the last OPEC meeting held on improve. Although prices of staple Russia’s exports March 15.
remain below the figures registered over the last The market of non-ferrous metals also year, since end-February there has been observed experiences an upturn. Nickel prices have grown by an upward trend. Among key factors accounting for 25 % since the beginning of this year. In April, the a rise in oil prices were OPEC plans to retain oil growth continued (USD 7150 per metric ton of extraction at the current level, what was confirmed ready-to-ship metal and USD 7160 per metric ton for three-month contracts as on April 23). Lead Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep Jule Jule Jule Jule Jule May May May May May Jan.
March March March March March prices are at the stage of stabilization since mid- Prices of major steel products remained at low February (about USD 475 per metric ton of ready- levels in February of this year and did not change in to-ship metal). After April 15, when there were comparison with January: reinforcing steel – USD registered the minimal prices for a two-months 185 to 210 per tonne, commercial steel – USD period, copper and aluminum prices demonstrated to 245 per tonne, hot rolled steel in rolls – USD an upward trend. Copper was at USD 1616 per to 200 per tonne.
metric ton and aluminum – at USD 1385 per metric ton as on April 23.
TABLE 1. THE AVERAGE MONTHLY WORLD PRICES IN FEBRUARY OF THE RESPECTIVE YEAR 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Oil (Brent), USD / metric ton 126,1 155,8 109,2 78,3 195,9 198,0 147,Natural gas, USD / thous. m3 78,7 71,2 72,7 101,0 201,5 80,Gasoline, USD / metric ton 192,6 233,0 181,3 187,3 333,5 315,1 220,Copper, USD / metric ton 2552,9 2392,0 1673,3 1414,8 1779,1 1811,4 1601,Aluminum, USD / metric ton 1597,8 1567,7 1479 1188,1 1584,2 1602,1 1370,Nickel, USD / metric ton 8091,5 7670,8 5462,2 4629,4 10269,6 6544,6 6042,Source: calculated in accordance to the data presented by London Metal Exchange (UK) The foreign trade turnover with countries outside In February of 2002, the amount of Russia’s CIS and Baltic states fell by 7.9 % and made USD trade vis--vis CIS countries made USD 2.06 bln.
8.97 bln. At the same time, imports made USD 3.19 Both exports and imports declined in comparison bln. (a 18.6 % growth), exports – USD 5.78 bln (a with the respective indicators registered over the 18 % decrease). preceding year by 8 % and made respectively USD Two factors were behind this sharp downfall in 1.08 bln. and USD 0.98 bln.; therefore, Russia still exports: first, a decrease in average export prices of maintains a positive balance of trade.
major fuel and energy products – oil (by 27 %) and The commodity composition of Russia’s exports oil products (by 31 %), and, second, a decline in the to CIS countries in February of 2002 somewhat export of ferrous and especially non-ferrous metals, deteriorated as the share of products of fuel and both in terms of volumes and export prices. For energy complex made over 55 %, while in instance, volumes of export of ferrous metals to this indicator fell to 40 %. In 2002, trends observed countries outside NIS decreased by 2 % and made in 2001 still persist as concerns the staple exports to 791.7 mil. t., copper – by 15 % to 90.6 thous. t., CIS (oil and natural gas). Oil exports grew more aluminum – by 8 % to 473.6 mil. t., nickel – 2.3 than threefold, while natural gas exports continued times to 90.6 thous. t. The average export price of to decrease and made only 70 % of the level ferrous metals fell by 5 %, copper and aluminum – registered in 2001. Negative trends in the structure by 18 %, nickel – by 13 %. of Russia’s exports were also confirmed by the data In February of 2002, imports from countries on export of machinery and equipment – while in outside NIS grew by 18.6 % and made USD 3.19 February of 2002 the share of these products in the bil. Food imports increase at especially high rates. total exports made only 15 %, in 2001 it was According to preliminary estimates, the first quarter registered at 25 %.
of this year accounts for a 30 % hike in food In the structure of Russia’s imports from CIS imports as compared with the first three months of countries, food and machinery accounted for 20 % 2001. At the same time, rates of growth in RF food of the total imports from these countries. As imports considerably outpace the increase in concerns import of other products, in February of domestic production. The situation of meat exports 2002 the imports of ferrous metals and pipes fell is especially serious. In relation to these most dramatically in comparison with the same developments, the government took a decision to period of the preceding year (by 40 % and three review again the possibility to introduce non-tariff times respectively).
regulation measures with regard to imports. For As a reaction to the fact that US introduced instance, it was decided to review once more duties on imports of steel products from a number quality standards, as there are still registered many of countries, including Russia, the Russian claims in respect of the quality of imported foods. It Federation withdraws from the comprehensive is planned to create a working group to deal with agreement with US regulating the trade with steel.
issues concerning the quality of imports and The agreement was signed in 1999. Russia respective standards. unilaterally undertook to limit its imports of steel products to US.
The withdrawal from the agreement will allow Russia), which cause injury to domestic producers.
Russia to increase deliveries of certain steel Therefore, it is probable that in April US may products, first of all, cold rolled steel, steel beams, introduce additional duties (more than 100 %) to be and sheet steel. Besides, US agreed to reserve for collected since January 26, 2002.
Russia 25 % of the its world quote of imports of The RF government has not taken the final steel slabs. Therefore, financial losses of Russia’s decision on imports of cars yet. The draft of the metallurgists will be compensated practically in resolution has been discussed three times, however, full. every time the document was returned for further However, the measures undertaken by US were elaboration. In the course of the last discussion primarily aimed to decrease imports of technology- (March 21) it was argued that the duties on intensive and expensive steel products, not raw imported used (3 to 7 years) cars should be raised materials and semi-finished products comprising only slightly, while the duties on cars aged over cast iron, slabs, steel sheets, etc. Therefore, in fact years shall be increased up to 70 % of their customs Russia’s metallurgy is encouraged to produce the value. However, the draft resolution elaborated for cheapest steel products. Besides, Russia has no further review by the working government guarantee against new anti-dumping investigations commission in early May proposed to increase the and respective sanctions. On April 10, in the basic rate on imports of new cars from 25 % to framework of an anti-dumping investigation related %. In case this resolution is signed in May, new to cold rolled steel, the US Department of customs duties, including those imposed on new Commerce ruled that there exist critical conditions cars, will be in effect since June.
N. Volovik, N. Leonova caused by imports from six countries (including On the Progress of Economic Reforms Three months passed since the moment the last structures to the turnover of documentation in year governmental action plan expired until the new electronic form (what will result in improved program for year 2002 came into force (the new timeliness and quality of decision making, quality action plan of the RF government aimed to of public services) and will decrease transaction implement key guidelines of the program of social costs in the commercial sector.
and political development of the Russian In early 2002, the government continued to work Federation in a medium time run (in 2002 through on measures aimed to ensure the progress of 2004) was approved on March 16, 2002). However, reforms across all sectors of the economy and this delay did not significantly affect the pace of social sphere. A key step along this avenue was the reforms, which did not decrease in comparison with draft federal law “On state minimal social 2001 (although did not accelerate either). standards” submitted to the RF government in Before focusing on the developments taking February of 2002. The law is aimed to create a place in the first quarter and April of 2002, the mechanism ensuring a certain quality of social principal normative acts approved in late 2001 shall services to the population across the whole RF be discussed (two most important of them being the territory, improve the efficiency of budgetary and joint strategy of the government and the central extra-budgetary resources allocated for social bank aimed to reform the banking sector and the development.
law on electronic digital signature). Although the There was approved federal law “On All-Russian joint strategy is, to a considerable extent, a Census.” The census will permit to detect major compromise and a far cry from radical program of social, economic, and demographic trends in the reforms in the banking sector, potentially it still can Russian Federation. It will also make more precise improve capitalization and reliability of banks, the strategic data across all indicators increase the share of bank credits in the sources of characterizing the population: size and structure, financing of enterprises. The changes in the education, and a number of others. The availability administration of the Bank of Russia encourage of maximally full information related to these optimism as concerns the reform of the banking indicators is necessary in order to pursue a sector. successful social and economic policies.
The law on electronic digital signature signed by In the sphere of education, two documents were the President in December shall become the first submitted to the government of the Russian step towards the transition of governmental Federation: the Complex of measures aimed to implement the Concept of modernization of about the issuer, its financial and economic education in Russia, which should be completed in operations and securities, transactions and other 2010, and a draft resolution on creation of a system operations involving securities.
of attestation and educational quality control Federal law “On mandatory insurance of civil independent of governmental structures. In case this liability of vehicle owners,” which the State Duma resolution is approved, an independent agency passed in the third reading, is of significant controlling the level of education and its importance for the insurance market, as it provides accordance to approved standards of knowledge effective legal protection of victims and will be created in the country. compensation of harm caused to their life, health, In the framework of pension reform draft federal or property by third parties using vehicles.
laws (“On insurance payments for the financing of There was completed the draft of federal law mandatory professional pension systems” and “On “On transfer of property owned by citizens and mandatory professional pension systems in the legal entities to the ownership of the Russian Russian Federation”) were elaborated and Federation (nationalization).” In case this law is submitted to the State Duma of the Federal approved, it will set civilized procedures for Assembly of the Russian Federation in order to transfer of ownership rights relating to property of create the legal basis necessary for the launch of legal entities and individuals to the Russian professional pension systems. Federation and protect the rights of persons whose As concerns the tax sphere, the long elaborated property is nationalized, at the same time draft laws on the abolition of the tax on purchase of maintaining a balance of interests between the foreign currency and payment documents Russian Federation and owners of the nationalized denominated in foreign currency, and on property.
introduction of a single payment for imputed On March 16, 2002, the government of the income and more simplified taxation procedures Russian Federation submitted to the State Duma with regard to certain business activities were draft federal law “On turnover of farmlands.” The submitted to the RF government in March. These draft stipulates the specifics of transfer of laws has been since long discussed at all levels of ownership rights for farmlands, restrictions on the the government; however, these laws became ready use of farmlands for other purposes, limits of land for submission to the State Duma only recently. plots used for commercial agriculture, the specifics The approval of these laws shall be a significant of turnover of land shares, the procedure and step facilitating the tax reform, decrease in tax mechanism for the use of land plots for state or burden (especially on small businesses), promoting municipal needs. The law has been recently business activity (what is of special importance in reviewed by the Presidium of the State Council and the situation of decelerating rates of economic approved in general, what is an evidence of a high growth). probability that it will be passed by the State Duma Aiming to develop the institution of bankruptcy, and the Federation Council. At the same time, it is the State Duma passed in the first reading federal apparent that the law will face bitter opposition in law “On insolvency (bankruptcy).” This draft law the Federal Assembly.
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