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On the whole, in the 1st quarter of 2003 there were registered 21 regions demonstrating a decline in industrial output. The list includes, alongside with the regions presented in the table, six autonomous okrugs (Komi Permyak AO, Taimyr AO, Evenk AO, Ust' Orda Buryat AO, Aginski Buryat AO, and Chukotka AO (i.e. all autonomous okrugs with the exception of three okrugs involved in extraction of oil and natural gas and the Koryak AO, where, as in the Kamchatka oblast proper, there increased yields of fish and sea products). The decline in industrial output in predominantly agrarian Ingushetia was caused by (among other factors) the slump in the fuel industry (the oil extraction decreased by 27.9 %). In the Magadan oblast there was registered a noticeable slump in a number of industries in non-ferrous metallurgy (the leading industry of the region), where the volume of production declined by 42 %, the volume of production of electrical power decreased by 16.3 %, coal extraction fell by 16.3 %, while the yields of fish and sea products diminished by 27.8 %.

The Samara and Ulyanovsk oblasts specializing in motor industry shall be specifically mentioned among the regions experiencing slump of industrial output. The unfavorable situation in this industry has affected the situation in the regional industries on the whole. While the average national decline in production of cars made 19.1 %, in the Samara oblast this indicator was registered at 21.8 %, while in the Ulyanovsk oblast it made 17.4 %.

The favorable situation, which until recently has existed in raw materials industries as compared with manufacturing industries, may be observed via changes in the regional shares in the national amount of industrial output (see Table 2). In the 1st quarter of 2003, as compared with the respective period of 2002, there significantly increased the share of the Tyumen oblast (it shall be noted that it occurred at the expense of the Khanty Mansi AO, the share of which grew from 7.21 % to 8.34 %, while the share of the Yamal Nenets AO declined from 3.26 % to 2.99 %), and the Chelyabinsk and Vologda oblasts specializing in ferrous metallurgy. Taking into account certain exceptions, the shares of regions specializing in industries oriented towards the domestic market have decreased, especially noticeably in the case of the city of Moscow and the Samara oblast.

Table Regions leading in terms of their share in the national volume of industrial output in th 1st quarter of 2002 and 2003* Share in industrial Share in industrial Regions output, 1st quarter of Regions output, 1st quarter of 2003, in % 2002, in % Tyumen obalst 11,80 Tyumen obalst 10,City of Moscow 5,49 City of Moscow 6,Sverdlovsk oblast 4,40 Samara oblast 4,Moscow oblast 3,82 Sverdlovsk oblast 4,Samara oblast 3,70 Moscow oblast 4,Chelyabinsk oblast 3,63 Republic of Tatarstan 3,Republic of Tatarstan 3,54 Krasnoyarsk krai 3,City of St. Petersburg 3,53 City of St. Petersburg 3,Krasnoyarsk krai 3,41 Chelyabinsk oblast 3,Republic of Bashkortostan 2,83 Republic of Bashkortostan 2,Total top 10l 46,15 Total top 10l 46,Kemerovo oblast 2,74 Nizhni Novgorod oblast 2,Perm oblast 2,65 Perm oblast 2,Nizhni Novgorod oblast 2,29 Kemerovo oblast 2,Irkutsk oblast 2,10 Irkutsk oblast 2,Vologda oblast 2,03 Vologda oblast 1,Total top 15 57,95 Total top 15 58,* without autonomous okrugs Table Characteristics of industrial output across federal okrugs IOI, 1st quarter of Share in the national industrial output (in Federal okrugs 2003 in % of 1st %) quarter of 2002 1st quarter of 2003 1st quarter of Central federal okrug 109,0 21,98 22,North West federal okrug 108,7 12,03 11,Southern federal okrug 103,2 6,27 6,Privolzhski federal okrug 105,0 22,01 22,Ural federal okrug 110,0 20,16 18,Siberian federal okrug 110,7 12,53 12,Far East federal okrug 102,4 5,02 5,Russian Federation 106,0 100,00 100,As concerns federal okrugs, in the 1st quarter of 2003 the Far East federal okrug continued to lag behind in terms of its industrial output dynamics (see Table 3), although a positive development is the fact that there was registered a growth and not decline in production. It shall be taken into account that in the 1st quarter of 2003 the maximal values of the industrial output index were registered in the Siberian federal okrug previously lagging behind the European Russia in terms of the rates of industrial growth. In contradistinction to the figures observed in the 1st quarter of 2002 (similarly to the annual figures of 2002), the North West federal okrug lost its leading positions in terms of growth in industrial output. The differences among the federal okrugs in terms of the industrial output dynamics are to a considerable degree determined by their industrial specialization. Growth in raw materials industries primarily accounted for the leading positions taken by the Siberian federal okrug, closely followed by the Ural federal okrug, where fuel industry and metallurgy makes the lion share in the structure of industrial output. The specific feature of the Ural federal okrug is that its share in the national amount of industrial output has increased most significantly (in the 1st quarter of 2003 as compared with the figures registered in the 1st quarter of 2002). At the same time, the shares of the Southern, Privolzhski, and Far East federal okrugs diminished.

Foreign Trade In March of 2003, the Russias foreign trade turnover grew by 27.8 % in comparison with the figures registered in the respective month of the preceding year and made US $ 17 billion (according to the balance of trade methodology). At the same time, exports made the record high US $ 11.3 billion and exceeded the respective indicator observed in the preceding year by 35.5 %. Imports also demonstrated stable high rates of growth. In March of 2003, there was imported goods worth US $ 5.7 billion, what is by 21.8 % above the levels registered in the respective period of the preceding year.

The active balance of trade made US $ 5.5 billion, while last March this indicator made US $ 3.9 billion.

As compared with the figures registered in the preceding month, the foreign trade turnover increased by 15.5 % as exports grew by 16.5 % and imports increased by 13.7 %.

Figure 1. Main indicators of Russias foreign trade (in Rub. bln.) -1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Source: RF Goskomstat The increase in exports is determined by the business situation on the world raw materials markets favorable for Russias exporters. For instance, on the world oil market in the 1st quarter of 2003 there prevailed the trend towards a rise in prices. The conflict in Iraq has reduced the importance of economic factors determining the balance of demand and supply. For instance, the average world price of oil (Urals) exceeded the price registered in the respective period of the preceding year by 50.8 % and therefore the effectiveness of the Russian export of oil and other energy resources has significantly increased.

Since mid-March, there has been observed a certain decrease in oil prices. For instance, the average world price of oil (Urals) made US $ 28.9 per barrel (a decrease by 5.6 % in comparison with the February figures), while Brent prices made US $ 29.15 per barrel (a decrease by 9.1 %). In the short term perspective the situation in Iraq will remain the major factor affecting the world situation on oil markets and until it is settled, the prices probably remain unstable.

According to the results of the monitoring of the world markets carried out in March and April of 2003, the average price of Urals oil made US 25.4 per barrel, or US $ 185.76 per metric ton. As a result, the export duty on oil shall be significantly reduced from US $ 40.3 to US $ 26.8 per metric ton since June 1, 2003.

There was introduced a unified export duty at US $ 24.1 per metric ton on oil products exported from the RF territory in countries outside the customs territory of the Customs Union. Previously, the export duty on oil related commodities was at US $ 36.3 per metric ton.

Contract prices of Russian natural gas demonstrated an upward trend. In March of 2003, the average monthly contract price of Russian natural gas increased almost 2 times in comparison with the figures registered in the respective period of the preceding year, however, it declined by 10 % as compared with the February figures.

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The situation on the market of ferrous metals was rather favorable for Russian exporters. In March of 2003, the average European prices of major types of merchant rolled shapes increased by 7.7 % in comparison with the figures observed in February, while the prices of sheet rolled products grew by 2.7 %.

In the 1st quarter of 2003, there was observed a recovery on the world markets of non-ferrous metals. In spite of a certain decrease in prices of major types of non-ferrous metals occurring in March, the average monthly prices of nickel, copper, and aluminum increased by 35.3 %, 7.4 %, and 1.4 % respectively in comparison with the figures registered in the 1st quarter of 2002.

Table The average monthly world prices in March of the respective year 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Oil (Brent), USD / metric ton 139 139,8 94,5 99,4 195,9 185,9 175,7 212,Natural gas, USD / thous. m3 - 66,8 77,5 75,7 101,0 185,7 107,0 205,Gasoline, USD / metric ton 215,5 230,4 166,8 188,3 333,5 318,0 279,5 359,Copper, USD / metric ton 2584,7 2424,8 1772 1477,1 1779,1 1780,3 1605 1681,Aluminum, USD / metric ton 1600,8 1635,5 1441,3 1251,1 1584,2 1511,2 1403,17 1393,Nickel, USD / metric ton 7955,7 7929,5 5380 4934,5 10269,6 6140,3 6503,33 8402,Source: calculated in accordance to the data presented by London Metal Exchange (UK), International Oil Exchange (London) The increase in the amount of imports primarily resulted from the growing volumes of imported products, while the level of contract prices increased insignificantly.

The growth in imports was observed across all commodity groups: foodstuffs by 19.6 %, chemical products by 23.7 %, textile products and footwear 1.5 times, products of mechanical engineering by 13.2 %.

In the 1st quarter of 2003, there was noted a significant improvement of Russias terms of trade with foreign countries (the ratio between price indices of exports and imports) resulting from a more significant rise in prices of staple Russias exports in comparison with the prices of imported goods.

In March of 2003, the turnover of Russias trade vis--vis CIS countries made US $ 2.75 billion. While in the preceding year exports grew at rates outpacing increase in imports, in March of this year these rates became equal and made slightly above 24 % as compared with the figures registered in March of 2002. This month, the amounts of exports made US $ 1.62 billion, while imports made US $ 1.13 billion.

Since May 9, Russia has introduced a new antidumping duty on the zinc plated flat bar rolled iron and steel with zinc or aluminum and zinc plating imported from Ukraine. The duty has been set at 24.3 % of the customs value of the respective products for the term of 2.5 years. The customs shall compensate suppliers in the amount of the difference between the temporary antidumping duty and the present regular duty. The temporary antidumping customs duty was introduced in August of 2002 for a 4 month term and made 31.8 % of the customs value. From May of 2000 till April of 2001, the average dumping margin relating to the rolled products imported from Ukraine made almost 50 %.

As a result of the bilateral negotiations with Moldova, a CIS member country, this Republic confirmed that in 2003 the expansion of its trade with Russia, which traditionally is the major trading partner of Moldova, remains its priority in the external economic operations. In the course of negotiations held in there was achieved certain progress as concerns the Russias consent to abolish currently existing exceptions from the free trade regime relating to five positions. For instance, it was planned to again extend the free trade regime to Moldavian sugar. Until that time the Republic may be granted import quotas at 32 to thousand metric tons a year.

On May 20, the third Russian version of the final report of the WTO working group on Russias accession to this organization was submitted to its Geneva office. This document presented by the applicant shall be discussed by all WTO member countries before July 7, so the working group could issue the recommendation for the Ministerial conference. However, it is already clear that Russia will not be accepted in 2003. The accession was postponed for an indefinite term. The Russian Government planned to join WTO at the 5th Ministerial conference of WTO member countries to be held in the Mexican town of Cancun on September 10 till 14 of this year.

In the beginning of 2003, there were agreed about 75 % to 80 % of obligations pertaining to the access of goods to the Russias market. However, recently there has been achieved no further progress. The main problem is that Russia rejected the European request to abolish the monopoly price determination on the market of energy resources, especially natural gas. Besides, the parties failed to agree about the issues of support of agriculture (Russia continues to defend its right to subsidize its agriculture at about US $ billion a year), free access of foreign banking, insurance, and transport services to the Russias market.

Besides, Russia refuses to enter the non-binding WTO agreement on civilian aircraft.

At its next conference to be held in Cancun, WTO intends to set forth more strict rules of accession, for instance, as concerns the protection of intellectual rights. Therefore, Russia will have to hold additional negotiations and its accession seem to be postponed for an indefinite term.

Since Russia is not a member of the World Trade Organization, the terms of access to external markets applied to Russian commodities sometimes are not fair. For instance, at present 77 restrictive measures against Russian goods (including 47 antidumping duties, 17 quota restrictions, 4 price restrictions, 3 special countervailing duties, 3 import prohibitions, 1 restriction of the nomenclature of imports) are in force in the world. Besides, at present 30 antidumping and special protective investigations concerning Russian commodities and exporters are in progress.

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