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In November 2009 the volume of Russian export made USD 31.1 billion, which exceeds by 2.3% the analogous figure of the previous month and by 2.4% - the figure of November 2008. The growth was due to the increase in export supplies to CIS countries, where goods worth USD 5 billion were exported which is by 19.8% more than in November 2008. Goods worth USD 26 billion were exported to non-CIS countries, which is 0.4% below the last year figure.

A gradual recovery of the volumes of export was connected with the improvement of the situation at the world market. In November 2009 the general trend for the growth of prices for oil sustained, which was assisted by the expectations for the growth of the demand for energy carriers in connection with the improvement of the prospects for the development of the world economy.

Balance Export Import 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Source: Central Bank of the Russian Federation Fig. 1 Main Indices of Russian Foreign Trade (as USD billion) Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep Sep May May May May May May May May May May FOREIGN TRADE Besides, in the environment of the excessive liquidity at the world market and the weakening of the US dollar the raw materials remain attractive objects for investments.

In November 2009 the prices for oil at the world market remained at approximately the same level as in the second half of October and fluctuated within the range of USD 75-78 per barrel. The price for oil grade Light Sweet made as a result of the bidding at NYMEX USD 84.07 per barrel on November, 28, which is by USD 7.07 per barrel more than at the beginning of the month. The price for oil grade Brent as a result of the biddings at the Intercontinental Exchange in London stopped at the level of USD 77.51 per barrel on the same day (+ USD 4 per barrel versus the beginning of the month). The price for oil grade Ural made USD 76.1 per barrel in November 2009, increasing by 1.5 times versus November 2008 and by 5% versus the previous month. On average in JanuaryNovember 2009 the price for oil grade Urals was USD 59.9 per barrel, which is by 1.7 times less than the average level of the corresponding period of 2008.

Over the first week of January 2010 the prices for oil future at oil exchanges in new York and London went up considerable, but already on January, 13 the price for Russian oil Urals dropped to USD 75.55 per barrel. Afterwards the trend for the decrease also dominated the markets of raw materials, which was caused by the evolving risks connected with the regulatory innovations in the USA which limit the trading operations of the banks and contribute into the outflow of the capital form the market of raw materials as well.

In the period of monitoring from December 15, 2009 to January 14, 2010 the average price for Russian oil made USD 75.91506 per barrel. As a result the export duty rate for oil will increase up to USD 270.7 per ton starting with February, 1 versus USD 267 per ton in January 2010. The duty for light oil products will increase from USD 192.2 per ton to USD 194.7 per ton, for dark oil products from USD 103.5 per ton to USD 104.9 per ton.

According to the data of the London Metal Exchange, as compared with October in November 2009 the prices for copper went up to 6.2%, for aluminum to 3.8%, for nickel reduced by 8.3%.

Average world prices in January-November 2009 were considerably lower than the figures of 2008:

by 31.8% - for copper, by 39.4% - for aluminum, by 34.8% - for nickel.

Table AVERAGE MONTHLY PRICES IN NOVEMBER OF CORRESPONDING YEAR 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Oil (Brent), 24.1 32.14 21.45 27.2 29.6 49.8 58.2 57.9 81.4 79.63 77.USD/barrel Natural gas, USD/1 million 2.558 5.767 2.649 4.144 5.162 7.7 12.2 12.76 7.47 6.824 5.BTU Petrol, 0.699 0.895 0.603 0.801 0.841 1.43 2.056 1.484 2.13 4.195 2.USD/gallon Copper, 1748.1 1838.6 1405.1 1519.0 1916.4 3012.0 4060 7500 8008 4925.7 6675.USD/ton Aluminum, 1470.7 1473.5 1280.8 1313.2 1474.8 1822.8 1929 2659 2442 2121.4 1949.USD/ton Nickel, 7984.2 7353.2 4836.8 6840.9 11030 14483 12403 32348 30999 12140 USD/ton Source: calculated on the basis of data of London metal exchange, International oil exchange (London) The volumes of import into the Russian Federation made USD 19.4 billion in November 2009, which is by 1% more than the figure of the previous month, but by 11.2% less than the figure of November 2008. At the same time it is the supplies from non-CIS countries that reduced by 14.1%, in contrast to CIS countries, from which there were 14.3% more goods imported into Russia as compared with the corresponding figure of 2008.

The volumes of import supplies for the main enlarged items of the commodity classification, such as machine-building and chemistry production, in November 2009 remained approximately at the level of the corresponding figures of the previous month. At the same time the import of foodstuffs and raw materials for their production increased, and that of footwear and textile decreased.

RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES Starting with January 1, 2010 the Single tariff of the Customs Union of Russia, Belorussia and Kazakhstan came into effect. The Single Customs Tariff (SCT) is the first document within the framework of creation of the Customs Union that directly affects the participants of the market.

There one can find the classification of all the goods that can be imported into and exported from the member countries. Each commodity is given a particular code, basing on which the customs should calculate the duty rate. The document also stipulates the import duties. Export duties are established by separate documents.

As compared with the Russian tariffs, import duty rates for household appliances and electronic equipment, large buses and medicinal equipment, some kinds of pearls and diamonds is substantially lower, while duty rate for clothes import is higher, also the import rates for some kinds of pipes and scrap metal are different. The codification has been changed partially (the SCT code does not coincide with the code of the Classification of goods for foreign economic activity).

On January 27, 2010 the first meeting of the customs commission of the Customs Union took place, at which it was decided to create a committee for issues of foreign trade regulation. The new body is to, first, study the proposals for changing the SCT and then submit an concerted decision to the Commission. The reconsideration of the customs tariff is planned to be made approximately once in six months. In the first months when the mechanism is being adjusted such decision will probably be made at each meeting of the Commission of the Customs Union. Since January, there have already been 5 suggestion on the changes to the single customs tariff made.

It was not possible to come to agreement regarding the most complicated question in the trilateral collaboration the placement of the funds raised from the import duties to national accounts at the first meeting of the Commission. The basic principle of the distribution consists in accounting the whole volume of import from abroad at the single rate and defining the proportion of each country depending on the proportion of its import volume in 2007-2008. Russia and Kazakhstan suggested distributing the customs payments in the following proportion: 86.5% - to the Russian Federation, 8.5% - to Kazakhstan, 5% - to Belorussia. As a result it was possible to agree upon the basic principle of distribution of the payments, but not the proportion since the Belorussian party insists on the increase of its proportion by 0.3 percentage points. It is suggested to work on this issue in two weeks.

The Customs Union is a completely new structure and the start of its operation is bound to cause difficulties and administrative problems. Before the agreement came into effect the introduction of new customs tariffs had been widely discussed, but the expansion of the list of the licensed goods had not been given enough attention. That is why some importers have started to experience problems with the import of the goods into the territory of the Russian Federation.

Starting with January, 1 the agreements of the member countries of the Customs Union concerning the unified rules for licensing in the sphere of the foreign trade and the list of goods which import requires licensing came into effect. In concordance with them it is necessary to have licenses for all kinds of alcohol production, whereas earlier such a requirement in the Russian Federation applied to vodka, tequila and some other liquor.

The importers claim that they were not duly notified about these innovations, while the Ministry for Industry and Trade started to receive application for issuing licenses only after New Year holidays. As a result in the first days after holidays the import supplies were paralyzed. On January 19, 2010 the Federal Customs Service informed that if an importer has a document testifying the application for the license to the Ministry of Industry and Trade the alcoholic goods are let in conditionally into the territory of the Russian Federation to reduce the time of the customs clearance. However the goods imported conditionally cannot be sold before the customs clearance has been finished, that is the license has been issued. On the whole the market needs several tens of thousand licenses. On January, 25 the Ministry of Industry and Trade started to issue one time licenses to importers.

Importers of vitamins faced the similar problems. Earlier Russian suppliers could import them on the basis of the letters of permission of the Roszdravnadzor (Federal Service for the Supervision of Public Health and Social Development). Now, besides the permission of this department one needs to get a license of the Ministry of Industry and Trade the same as for medicines import.

FOREIGN TRADE The start of operation of the Customs Union also complicated the import of laptops, mobile phones and some accessorizes for them, for instance Bluetooth. According to the regulations of the Customs Union the companies importing the devices with the possibility for ciphering are to pass the procedure of notification, that is notify the government body in charge of the state security about this. Such a body has not been defined officially. Only on January, 21 the Federal Customs Service informed that one should apply to the Center for Licensing, Certification and Protection of State Secret of the Federal Security Service.

The mobile operators have to shift the period for construction of the third generation networks in the territory of the Russian Federation. Due to the Customs Union they faced the problem with the import of the equipment for construction 3G networks. In order to import a basic station of communication one should first get a license for the import of ciphering devices which is issued by the Federal Security Service and the license for the import of radioelectronic devices issued by the Ministry for Industry and Trade. The companies comment that the disruption of supply may not only slow down the process of the 3G networks putting into implementation but also may cause the recall of the license from the operators.

So far the creation of the Customs Union has caused several trade conflicts not only in the sphere of import of wine, mobile phones and vitamins, but also in the sphere of export duties for oil:

in January 2010 the oil from Russia to Belorussia was supplied without a contract since the parties could not come to the conclusion concerning the conditions of the supply.

The argument between Russia and Belorussia about duty-free supply of oil started at the end of 2009. The main problem is that Russia suggested supplying duty-free oil only for internal needs of Belorussia (6.3 million of tons of oil), and take the entire duty from all other oil. Belorussia, which imports annually more than 20 million of tons of Russian oil, insisted on duty-free import of the whole volume. Belorussian party appealed to the fact that within the framework of the Customs Union of Russia, Belorussia and Kazakhstan that is functioning exactly starting with January 1, 2010 the trade between two countries should proceed on conditions different from the practice, which is applied to third parties.

Several rounds of Russia-Belorussia negotiations took place which came to no result. At the beginning of January 2010 in the environment of the unsolved dispute concerning the privileged supplies of oil in Belorussia, Minsk made a decision to increase the oil transit rate for Russia by 5.5 times. About 60 million tons of Russian oil are supplied to Europe through Belorussia. Minsk also threatened to stop supplying energy to Baltic countries and Kaliningrad, if a new contract is not signed. The last round of negotiations which started on January, 25 concluded with signing the compromise documents.

The tariff for transit of the Russian oil through the territory of Belorussia will increase by 11%.

The Russian Federation will supply 6.3 million of tons of oil to Belorussia duty-free. In September the volumes of consumption and tariffs will be checked and corrected if necessary.

RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES MORTGAGES IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION G.Zadonsky The interest rates for the home loans continued to decrease. The average weighted rate of the crisis refinance by the Agency for Home Mortgage Lending decreased down to 11.5% in November 2009. The increase of the volumes of newly issued credits is not high but enough to sustain the level of the outstanding debt. The volume of stale debt for home loans continues to grow.

As on December 1, 2009, according to the data of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, there were 106 864 mortgages of RUR 124 451 million issued, the debt being equal to RUR 1 738 million. The volume of mortgages issued by December 1, 2009 made RUR 149 977 million or 148 432 credits the debt being RUR 1 172 141 million. In November (fig. 1) there were housing credits of RUR 16.663 billion, which is by 2.6% more than in October. The stale debt for mortgages went up by 4.5% in November versus October and made RUR 27.721 billion. At the same time the stale debt for mortgages in rubles made 2.06% of the debt for credits in rubles, and for the credits in foreign currency 5.24% of the corresponding debt.

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