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Credits In April the availability of credits for the industrial enterprises went up by 8 points and currently is equal to 31%. In December 2008 this figure was 17% (which is the absolute RUSSIAN INDUSTRY IN APRIL minimum for all the period of monitoring since 2000). The change in the crediting policy of banks, however, concerned mainly very large (more than 1000 employees) enterprises, whose normal access to the borrowed funds went up to 36%. Small-and medium-scale enterprises (up to 250 employees) have not felt any changes so far, in contrast: only 13% of producers of this category had normal access to credits in April as compared with 16-17% in December-February.

The growth of the availability of credits concerned all the branches of industry, except the light industry. The absolute levels, however, differ by nearly three times. Whereas in the metallurgy, chemistry industry and foodstuffs production 41-45% of the enterprises have normal access to credits, in timber industry and industry of construction materials production there are only 16% such. The banks are willing to give credits only to 30% of machine-building factories and 24% of foodstuffs production enterprises.

The possibilities to pay for the credits in the industry decreased by 5 points over the month and now make 53% of the total number of enterprises having credits. The highest paying capacity is characteristic for foodstuffs production (81% of enterprises), metallurgy industry (78%) and light industry (75%).

RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES FOREIGN TRADE N.Volovik The worsening of the situation at the world market and the drop of the solvent demand inside the country resulted in a considerable reduction of the main indices of the Russian foreign trade at the beginning of 2009.

In order to protect Russian enterprises assembling liquid crystals television sets, starting with May import duty rates for liquid crystals television sets will be increased by one and a half times from 10 to 15%.

In February 2009 the Russian foreign trade turnover calculated on the basis of the balance-of-payment methodology was equal to USD 32.1 billion, being 43.4% below the figures of February 2008. Export made USD 18.7 billion, which is a bit more than a half of that of the previous year. As compared with January, export went up by 4%. Import made USD 13.4 billion, which is 36.5% below the figures of the previous year, but 30% above the figures of this January. Due to the accelerated decrease in export figures, trade balance reduced down to USD 5.3 billion, as compared with USD 14.5 billion in February 2008 and USD 9.4 billion in January 2009.

In February world prices for the most kinds of the fuel commodities and raw materials continued to decrease. As compared with the previous month only reinforcing steel, copper and some kinds of fertilizers went up in price.

Balance Export Import 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Source: Central Bank of Russian Federation Fig. 1 Main Indices of Russian Foreign Trade (as USD billion) Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan July July July July July July July July July FOREIGN TRADE In February 2009 the average price for oil grade Brent decreased by 52.7% as compared with February 2008, and by 4% as compared with January 2009. Over the period from February 15 to March 14 the average price fro oil grade Urals made USD 42.035 per barrel. As a result export customs duty rate for crude oil was lowered from USD 115.per ton to USD 110 per ton from April 1, 2009. Duty rates for light oil products were lowered from USD 90 per ton to USD 86.4 per ton, and for dark oil products from USD 48.5 per ton to USD 46.5 per ton.

At the world market of non-ferrous metals there are no significant changes expected in the forthcoming time. The worsening of the economic situation and the decrease in the demand for metals is observed.

At the beginning of February 2009 some increase in prices was observed at the aluminum market. Over the first part of the month the metal went up in price from USD 1316 per ton to USD 1422 per ton, that is nearly by 8%, but by the middle of the month the prices went down to USD 1340 per ton and by the end to USD 1290 per ton. However in March the prices recovered and on March 26 they went up to USD 1409 per ton.

It is the excessive supply of this metal at the world market with a consequence of the accumulation of the large world stocks of the metal, which, according to the International Aluminum Institute, reached 1.676 million of tons in December 2008 recordbreaking level of the past half of the year,- that has a considerable pressure on the prices for aluminum.

In February 2009 prices for copper fixed around the mark of USD 3350 per ton, that is exceeded the level of January. A sharp drop of prices for copper is also a consequence of the excessive stocks of the metal at exchanges, which was made possible by the excessive supply of the metal at the world market, which was mainly accounted for by the inertia expansion of facilities in the mining sector.

The prices for nickel reached USD 11650 per ton in the first days of February. For nearly all the first ten days of the month they remained at the level of USD 11000 per ton, but then they dropped by 12% - down to USD 10135. By the end of February the prices dropped to USD 9650-9675 per ton. The prices for nickel are also under the pressure of the relative overproduction of the metal in the world.

In February 2009 as compared with February 2008 average world prices for non-ferrous metals at the London Metal Exchange (LME) decreased: prices for nickel by 2.times, prices for copper by 2.4 times, prices for aluminum by 2.1 times; as compared with January 2009 prices for copper went up by 2.9%, prices for aluminum decreased by 5.9%, prices for nickel by 7.9%.

Table AVERAGE MONTHLY WORLD PRICES IN FEBRUARY OF CORRESPONDING YEAR 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Oil (Brent), USD/ 15,0 10,8 26,9 27,2 20,3 32,1 30,9 44,8 59,7 58,26 92,66 43,barrel Natural gas, 1,994 2,036 2,828 5,642 2,260 6,367 5,407 6,242 6,128 7,606 8,58 4,USD/1 mln BTU Petroleum, USD/ 0,508 0,524 0,934 0,882 0,616 1,045 1,045 1,37 1,734 1,662 1,2,gallon Copper, USD/ton 1673,3 1414,8 1779,1 1811,4 1601,5 1705,9 2759,0 3254 4982 5671,1 7887,7 3314,Aluminum, USD/ 1479 1188,1 1584,2 1602,1 1370,8 1428,04 1685,6 1883 2455 2759,14 2776,9 1330,ton Nickel, USD/ton 5462,2 4629,4 10269,6 6544,6 6042,7 8619,64 15178,3 15350 14979 41154,5 27955,5 Source: calculated on the basis of London Metal Exchange, International Oil Exchange (London) RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES Unfavorable situation at the world market for the Russian export accounted for the reduction of its volumes. In January-February 2009 export was equal to USD 36.7 billion, or 52.3% of the corresponding figure of 2008.

Decrease in value volume of the Russian export took place as a result of both the decrease in prices for export goods and the decrease in the physical volumes of the export supplies.

In February 2009 index of average prices was equal to 57% of the level of February 2008, whereas the index of the physical volume reduced to a less extent and made 91.2%.

In connection with the considerable drop in contract prices for oil and oil products the share of fuel and energy commodities in the total volume of the Russian export decreased down to 66.4% versus 71.2% in January-February 2008. The proportion of oil export in the total volume of Russian export in January-February 2009 made 31.8%, in the export of fuel and energy commodities 47.9% (36.1% and 50.7%, correspondingly, in JanuaryFebruary 2008).

The value of export of chemistry and rubber industry production reduced by 36.3%, which was accounted for by the decrease in the rubber value export by 3.1 times, ammonia by 2.3 times, methanol by 7.6 times.

Export of metals and goods thereof reduced in terms of value by 42.1%. The reduction in the value volume o export of these kinds of goods was influence by the decrease in purchase of cast iron, half-finished products of iron and plain steel, flat rolled metal due to the reduction in the physical volumes and prices, as well as by the decrease in purchase of copper, unprocessed aluminum and unprocessed nickel mainly due to the reduction in average contract prices.

Export of timber and pulp-and-paper goods reduced by 44.7% due to the decrease in the physical volumes of the main goods of this group processed and unprocessed timber by 1.7 an 2.9 times, correspondingly.

Export of machinery, equipment and transport vehicles (in terms of value) reduced by 40.8%. Export of passenger cars decreased in terms of physical volume by 25 times and of trucks by 4 times, contract prices growing by 2.5 and 2.9 times, correspondingly.

In January-February import made USD 23.8 billion or 64.5% of January-February 2008.

At the beginning of 2009 the reduction of the Russian import was accounted for by both the reduction in average prices of import goods and by the drop of the physical volumes.

Average import prices in February 2009 reduced but negligibly as compared with February 2008, their index being 97.5%, whereas the index of import physical volume reduced to 66.7%.

Import reduced nearly for all the trading positions. Machine-building production is among the leaders of the decrease, its import supplies reducing by 46.9%. This was mainly due to the reduction in purchase of the overland transport vehicles by 3.2 times, of electric equipment by 46.5%, of mechanic equipment by 38.2%, of optic instruments and devices by 32.7%.

In January-February 2009 the volume of the import of transport vehicles in Russia reduced down to 80.6 thousands of vehicles versus 294.3 thousand a year ago. The import of used cars decreased dramatically. According to the data of the analytical agency Avtostat, in February import of used cars reduced by 64.3% versus the indices of the corresponding period of the previous year. In February 2008 there were 54 800 passenger cars imported in Russia, which is nearly twice as much as the figures of January 2009. Due to the increase in customs duty rates for import of the used cars, their import has nearly ceased: the proportion of the used cars in the total import of January made 10%, and in February it did not exceed 0.6%.

Russian import of foodstuffs reduced by 21.8% in February 2009 as compared with February 2008.

In January-February 2009 import of beef in the Russian Federation reduced by 40% versus the corresponding figure of 2008 down to 39 thousand of tons. Over the same period pork import reduced by 31% - down to 53 thousand of tons, and import of poultry 0 by 18%, down to 92 thousand of tons.

Besides the influence of the seasonal factor such dynamics is connected with large stocks of goods transferred to the beginning of the year, shortage of liquid funds at the majority of the participants of the foreign economic activity, unavailability and high interests rates of the commercial credits and the expected decrease in the demand for finished goods and fresh meat. In addition, the volume of the import was influence by the worsening of the financial situation of a number of the meat-processing enterprises, which are the main consumers of the import beef and pork, and that have a considerable unsettled debt to the suppliers of the raw materials.

At the same time import of pork and beef by-products indicates that the demand for the cheap kinds of the animal protein has increase and the consumer preferences have changed. Thus, pork by-products import increased by 23% in February 2009 as compared with the same period of 2008. In January-February 2009 supplies of beef by-products increased by nearly 20%.

In terms of value import of fish reduced by 31.2% - down to USD 115.6 million. Supplies of sugar in Russia reduced by 27% (to USD 28.3 million), of dairy products by 36.9%.

Import of alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks went down by 55.4% down to USD 61.2 million, of tobacco by 28.7% down to USD 69.5 million. The supplies of vegetables reduced to the smallest extent only by 8%. Supplies of fruit (in monetary terms) remained at nearly the same level as in the previous year.

In accordance with the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation from March 31, 2009 No 273 On temporary customs duty rates for some kinds of collective aperture for televisions communications, stating with May import duty rates for LCD television sets are increased by one and a half times from 10 to 15%.

The increase of duty rates was on the request of the enterprises assembling well-known world brands Panasonic, Philips, Hitachi, Sony, Samsung, Hyundai, JVC in the special economic zone of Kaliningrad district. A sharp drop in the orders caused by the aftermaths of the world crisis had already led to the stop of production at a number of enterprises in the special economic zone of Kaliningrad, which made the directors of the enterprises ask the Government for 25% import duty rates. Import duty of 10% that is still in operation cannot protect the assembling of the LCD television sets in Russia from import competition.

The Government however did not go beyond the increase of import duty to 15%. As a matter of fact, the enterprises located in Kaliningrad district enjoy the preferences that are the result of their status of the residents of the special economic zone. For instance, the rules of the customs registration let them import components for assemblage enterprises duty-free.

Duty rate of 25% would be apparently barring since import LCD television sets would become 10-20% more expensive, whereas now the growth of prices for import analogues will make 5-7% of the current price in the foreign exchange. The prices for the television sets assembled in Russia will grow less, and this will stimulate the purchase of goods assembled domestically.

RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES BUDGETARY AND TAX POLICY O.Kirillov The estimated level of the RF federal budget revenues in 2009 is clearly beyond the capacity of financing in a balanced way, while in future, annual budgets deficits are also expected to be deficit ones. It is estimated, in the situation like that, the reserve fund assets can be insufficient for the complete term of overcoming the effects of the global financial crisis.

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