Of 58 countries that are entered into the Working group on Russia’s WTO accession, Russia did not succeed as yet in its negotiations with Columbia and the USA.
In November 2005, in comparison with November of the previous year, the foreign trade turnover, calculated according to the balance of payment methodology, was grown by 28,4% - to USD 34.4 bn.
In parallel with this, considerable growth of the value volume had been observed of both the export and import. In November 2005 the export deliveries reached USD 12.2 bn, having increased in comparison with the same period of previous year by 24,9%. The imported deliveries had grown to USD 12.2 bn, which is higher by 29.7% than the level of November 2004. The surplus on foreign trade operations of Russia in November 2005 made USD 10 bn, which is by 6,7% less than in October and by 19,6% greater than in analogous period of 2004. The balance of foreign trade with the farabroad countries reached USD 8.9 bn, with CIS-countries – USD 1.1 bn.
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Balance Export Import Source: Central Bank of the RF Figure 1. Major Indices of the Russian Foreign Trade (bn dollars) The record growth of the Russian export had been reached basically due to remaining exclusively favorable state of affairs on the world market. Despite lowering of prices for some of the goods of the Russian export in November 2005, they remain at a very high level. By estimates of the Bank of Russia, the world prices with account of the Russian export structure as aggregated by goods, that includes around 70% of its cost, decreased in November 2005 on average by 3,8%, as compared to previous month. However, as compared with the respective period of 2004, they were in January-November 2005 higher by 35%.
In November 2005, against the previous month, the world prices for products of the Russian fuel and energy complex decreased on average by 5%. In January-November 2005, in comparison with the analogous period of 2004, they were higher by 44%.
The prices for oil products in November 2005, as compared to the previous month, decreased on average by 11,1% (diesel fuel went down by 13,6%, gasoline - by 12,4%, fuel oil - by 6,7%). In January-November 2005, as compared to the respective period of 2004, the prices for oil products were on average higher by 44,2% (gasoline went up by 26,0%, diesel fuel - by 44,3%, fuel oil - by 50,1%).
In 2005, the oil export duty had the following dynamics. Since December 1, 2004 to January 31, 2005 the duty made USD 101/t. For a period of February 1 to March 31 it was reduced to USD 83/t, because of slight fall in oil prices on the world market. Since April 1 to May 31 the duty was USD 102.6/t, since June 1 to July 31 – USD 136.2/t, с 1 августа по 30 сентября - USD 140/t, since October 1 to November 30 – USD 179.9/t, since December 1, 2005 – USD 179.6/t.
In November 2005, as compared to the previous month, the prices for natural gas in Europe went up by 2,9%, in the USA wend down by 22,9%. In January-November 2005, versus the same period of 2004, the natural gas in Europe went up by 47,8%, in the USA - by 46,7%.
Since August to November 2005, the prices for ferrous metals remained unchanged. In JanuaryNovember 2005, against the respective period of 2004, they were higher by 14,1%. In November 2005, the prices for aluminum and copper in November 2005 continued to grow, as on the market their remained deficit of these metals, caused by high demand for them and reduction of their production.
The determinant speculative factor of rising the prices for copper in November became the expectations by the market participants of considerable purchases of this metal by China.
Jul Jul Jul Jul Jul Jul Okt Okt Okt Okt Okt Okt Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Apr Apr Apr Apr Apr Apr The main cause of continuation (the three months in succession) of nickel price going down is drastic fall in the volumes of production of stainless steel in the world. Lowering of nickel demand caused an increase of its reserves to maximum value since January 2005 – 20.8 thou. tons. In November 2005, against the previous month, ;aluminum went up by 6,3%, copper - by 5,2%, nickel went down by 2,3%. In January-November 2005, in comparison with the respective period of 2004, the prices for non-ferrous metals were on average by 10,3% higher (aluminum price was higher by 9,5%, copper - by 26,7%, nickel - by 7,7%).
Monthly Average World Prices in November of Corresponding Year 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Oil (Brent), USD/ barrel 22.8 17.8 11.5 24.1 25.6 19.35 24.4 28.6 43.1 55.Natural gas, USD/1 mln BTU 3.093 2.393 2.251 2.558 5.767 2.843 4.11 4.876 6.533 9.Gasoline, USD/gallon 0.6691 0.5648 0.3739 0.6986 0.7649 0.5454 0.7203 0.845 1.289 1.Copper, USD/t 2273.3 1834.7 1601.6 1748.1 1914.4 1481.0 1610.0 2052.0 3123.0 4269.Aluminum, USD/t 1459.9 1535.5 1305.0 1470.7 1562.5 1326.6 1373.4 1507.0 1814.0 2051.Nickel, USD/t 6920.0 6099.0 4202.0 7984.2 7315.4 5159.7 7316.7 12090 14026 Source: calculated according to the data of London Metal Exchange, International Petroleum Exchange (London) Under high dynamics of the value volumes of export determined by maintenance of exclusive price dynamics, the growth of physical volumes of export of goods continues to slow down: the index of actual volume of export over January-October 2005 made up 103,7% vs. 110,3% over OctoberOctober 2004. The decisive factor of slowing down is contraction of the absolute volumes of oil export: over 11 months of 2005 the volume of export deliveries of Russian oil made up 212.69 mln tons, which is by 2,6%, less than over the respective period of 2004.
In January-November 2005 the earnings of the Russian oil exporters had grown by 43,7% and reached USD 71.797 bn vs. USD 50 gained over the respective period of 2004. The proportional weight of the oil export in the volume of Russian export in January-November 2005 accounted 33%, in the export of fuel and energy goods – 54% (in January-November 2004 these indicators were 32,6% and 56,6%, accordingly).
By contrast, the import of goods is characterized by high growth rates of actual volumes: over January-October 2005 the index of actual volume made 122,9%, under the lower price dynamics – 105,7%.
The continued large-scale expansion of imports is determined by high dynamics of enterprises and population’s incomes under the considerable real ruble strengthening.
The growth rates of the population’s incomes were in 2005 higher than before: the real wage had grown by 9,7%, the real; incomes - by 8,8%. In real terms, in November 2005, in comparison with October 2005, ruble against the US dollar depreciated by 0,2%, against Euro – became stronger by 1,8%. As compared to December 2004, in November 2005 the real ruble-to-dollar strengthening is estimated as 1,8%, to Euro – 18,5%. In November 2005 vs. the previous month, the real effective exchange rate of the ruble to currencies of the countries – main trade partners of the Russian Federation – went up by 0,8%, to December 2004 - by 10,2%.
In January 2006, The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia completed the antidumping probe concerning some types steel pipes from the Ukraine imported into the customs territory of the RF.
The probe started in July 2004 showed the presence of dumping import of casing pipes, bearing pipes, oil well tubings, oil-and-gas and hot-deformed pipes of general use, boiler tubes, originated from Ukraine. As well, it had been found that material damage had been done to the industry of Russian economy (concerning oil well tubings, oil-and-gas pipes, hot-deformed pipes of general use, casing, bearing and boiler pipes).
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia found also the presence of cause-effect relations between the dumping import of some types of steel pipes from the Ukraine, imported into the customs territory of the RF, and doing material damage to the industry of the Russian economy.
Basing on the conducted probe, the RF Government adopted the resolution on introduction (for a period of 5 years) of special antidumping duties for steel Ukrainian pipes. In accordance with the Resolution, the duties at the rate of 11,4% of the customs value are introduced for casing pipes; at the rate of 55,3% of the customs value – for bearing pipes; at the rate of 18,1% of the customs value – for oil well tubings.
In addition, for oil-and-gas pipes of diameter of up to 820 mm and the hot-deformed ones of general use (of the same diameter) a duty is imposed at the rate of 8,9% of the customs value (excluding the pipes produced by OAO “Mariupol Integrated Iron-And-Steel Works named after Ilich”, the antidumping duty for which is imposed at the rate of 0%); and for boiler tubes - 11,3% of the customs value.
The probe had been started after the statement of non-profit organization "Foundation for the development of pipe industry" on behalf of Russian producers of pipe production. The Russian producers, which are entered into the Foundation, account for 90% - 100% of the total volume of production of the aforementioned types of pipes in the RF. According to the data provided by the Foundation, in the period since September 2002 to August 2003, the import into the Ukraine from the RF of all the aforementioned types of pipes was carried out by dumping prices. Thus, dumping margin for deliveries of casing pipes made up (for indicated time period) on average 11,8%, on deliveries of hotdeformed boiler pipes - on average 10%, cold-deformed boiler pipes - 12%, oil well tubings - 17%, bearing pipes - 56,1%, oil-and-gas and hot-deformed pipes of general use - 10,3%.
Late in January 2006 the World Economic Forum was held in Davos, main risks had been determined for the world economy. The main outcome of the meeting in Davos for Russia – signing a protocol on accession to WTO with Switzerland, and later with Brazil. The ceremony was planned, while all the questions with those countries had been agreed beforehand. Russia is close to signing an agreement on WTO accession with Australia. With India an agreement will be signed in February.
There are still two countries, with which Russia cannot agree as yet – Columbia and the U.S.
Americans try to achieve maximum success on the issue of liberalization of the banking sector of Russia and duty free importation of their aircrafts, primarily civil Boeing. During the Forum no progress could be observed in negotiations with the U.S. on this issue. On January 26 Gref had a meeting with the U.S. representative Rob Portman, but no decision had been taken. Columbia requires that the sugar trade regulations have to be arranged.
N.P. Volovik The trends on Russia’s corporate control market in the year The general trend in the development of the corporate control market was represented, in the year 2005, by the improvement of the informational transparency of the property-transfer processes and the increase in the share of application of “civilized” forms of mergers and takeovers against the backdrop of a simultaneous increase of the State’s share in the major industrial (first of all, raw-materials) assets of the Russian economy.
Among the major tendencies which characterized the development of the corporate control market in 2005, the one to be mentioned first was the increase in the informational transparency of the processes of transferring property rights to assets, the increase in the share of “civilized” forms of mergers and takeovers, and also the increase in the State’s share in property rights to the major industrial (first of all, raw-materials) assets of the Russian economy.
First of all, it is necessary to note the emerging downward trend in the activity on the market of hostile mergers, notwithstanding the preservation of a high level of law violations in this sphere (at least according to the official data). No precise statistics concerning the number of hostile mergers are available, which can be easily explained by the reluctance of those participating in these processes to disclose such information. Nevertheless, eloquent enough in this respect are the statistics concerning the number of criminal actions brought by the investigative and supervisory agencies with regard to the facts of law violations connected with “hostile takeovers”. Thus, in the year 2004, the lawenforcing agencies and the office of the public prosecutor of Moscow brought 36 actions (fraud, infliction of material loss, coercion to effect a transaction, etc.) with regard to the revealed facts of “takeovers by force” and hostile mergers, while in the year 2005, as of the month of August, eight such actions had been already brought.It is likely that the main non-economic reasons for the emergence of this trend are as follows:
- the tightening of the actual administering of the corporate-takeovers sphere by the agencies of executive state authority, however populist by character these actions may be;
- the tightening of the actual administering, by the agencies for anti-monopoly regulation, of the processes of transferring property rights to assets;
- the partial alteration of legislation in the sphere of regulating the changes in a company’s activity, submitted to the executive agencies by juridical persons (for example, the introduction of mandatory verification by a notary of the signature of the previous general director on the application to be submitted to the tax service for the purpose of entering the data concerning the new director in the Unified State Register of Juridical Persons);
- the use, by the companies, of more efficient anti-takeover tactics (including the preventive ones).
Currently, the issue of regulating the sphere of hostile mergers has been given ever increasing attention both at the various levels of state administration and in the business environment. For example, as early as August and September 2005, the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, respectively, hosted two conferences on the problems of hostile takeovers and protection against them, with the participation of representatives of the state authorities.
Apart from this, similar problems were considered by the Council of Experts on Corporate Governance at the RF Ministry of Economic Development and Trade in the course of preparing the Concept for the Development of Corporate Legislation in the Period Until the Year 2008.
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