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An increase in effective demand of the population was responsible for intensive growth in retail turnover. This growth was mostly caused, like in the previous year, by advancing growth in the nonfood products market. Food product sales grew by 9.6%, while non-food products sales by 12.8% with retail turnover growth by 11.3% as compared to the first half of 2004. This is conditioned to a certain extend by structural changes in prices in all basic groups of goods. Prices of food products increased by 8.6%, while prices of non-food products by 2.4% in the beginning of the year under an increase in consumer prices by 8.0% in the first half of 2005. It should be noted that statistical studies recorded changes towards more expensive goods in the production-line sales structure of food products under the existing level of earnings. The growth in retail turnover is supported by dynamic development of the consumer crediting sector. Volume of credits extended to physical bodies accounted for 706,0 bln rubles in the beginning of May 2005 and increased by 14.1% since the beginning of the year. A share of consumer spending accounted for 72.3% in the structure of cash income spending and slightly increased in the first half of 2005 as compared to the previous year. This, however, had no effect on peoples propensity to save. A share of saving accounted for 11.7% in the structure of people expenditures in the first half of 2005.

The growth in employment is one of the principal factors determining social development parameters responsible, because wages of employees account for almost 70% of aggregate personal incomes of the population. According to the data of the State Committee for Statistics related to a sampling survey of the population on the issues of employment, the number of people employed in the economy in the period between January and June 2005 remained almost the same as in the previous year: 68,million persons. Total amount of the unemployed, as calculated by the ILO methods, was reduced by almost 500 thousand persons to reach 5,6 million persons by the beginning of June ( 7.9% of the work force ). The tension coefficient ( the number of unemployed citizens registered with employment services as per one vacancy ) declined from 2,9 in January to 2,1 in June 2005.

Deceleration of capital investment growth rate remains one of the principal problems. Capital investments grew by 9.4% at the backgrounds of intensive growth in gross national saving volumes against 12.6% in the same period of the previous year. A share of capital investments accounted for 14.1% of GDP in the first half of 2005. In spite of advancing growth in production of machinery and equipment ( 111.2% ) over capital investments, the capital good market was balanced by advancing growth of machinery and equipment import ( 135.7% ). The issues of top-priority investment in projects aimed at creating the infrastructure able to provide favorable conditions for promotion domestic business activity became therefore relevant in this respect.

A Federal Law on amendments to the second part of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation, which is designed to promote investment activity, and some other laws of the Russian Federation on taxes and dues were signed on June 6, 2005. In particular, taxpayers will be entitled to write off 10% of capital investments since January 1, 2006. In addition, the restrictions relating to loss carryover will be gradually abolished under the law: this regulation will be increased up to 50% from 2006 and all restrictions will be abolished from 2007. The law also provides for measures stimulating research & development. In particular, the existing restrictions on attributing costs of research & development are expected to be withdrawn and fully written off within a period of two years.

IETs macroeconomic estimates for the end of 2005 show that ongoing high movements of external and investment demand remain principal growth factors under the current trends and scenary changes of economic environment. The GDP is expected to grow by 5.1 to 5.5% in 2004 as compared to the previous year, provided that the expected growth of capital investments vary in the range of 109.5 to 110.0%, exports in the range of 122.8 - 126.6%% and a share of the unemployed in total number of the work force is at the level of 7.6%.

. Izriadnova Oil and Gas Sector Oil world prices were extremely high in the first half of 2005, which resulted in a jump in export earnings. At the same time, oil production growth rates were sharply reduced in physical terms. The current situation in the world oil market allows one to forecast high world oil prices and favorable external conditions for further replenishment of state budget revenues and the stabilization fund, as well as development of the oil and gas production sector in the nearest future.

World oil pieces, which had a determining influence on the oil and gas production sector of the Russian economy in the first half of 2005, were extremely high and reached its historical maximum in money terms in June 2005. This was caused mainly by high economic growth rates in the world economy in general and US and Chinese economies in particular, as well as insufficient amount of oil production facilities which filed to afford a rapid increase in oil production to satisfy the growing demand for oil. OPEC actually refused to maintain world oil prices within the range of 22 to 28 dollars per barrel it established previously and kept pursuing the policy of moderate increase in oil production within the range of production facilities available. OPEC announced at its March Conference in that the OPEC country will increase oil production by 500 thousand barrels daily. This news, however, had no effect whatsoever on oil prices. It was obvious that volumes of increasing oil production failed to meet the situation requirements. Moreover, according to the data of the Intentional Agency for Energy, oil supplies from OPEC countries reduced by 55 thousand barrels daily in May as a result of reduced oil production in the United Arabs Emirates and Venezuela. Export from southern oil fields of Iraq also decreased. As a consequence, the price of Brent oil reached 54,4 dollars per barrel, while that of Russian Urals oil was 51,4 dollars per barrel in June 2005. In the first half of 2005, the average price of OPEC oil basket was found to be considerably higher than the upper limit of the targeted price spectrum and was 49,5 dollars per barrel in the second quarter of 2005. The average price of Russian Urals oil reached 48,4 dollars per barrel in the world ( European ) market in the second quarter of 2005, or exceeded by 49% the level of the corresponding period in the previous year ( see Table 1 ).

Table World Oil Prices in 2002-2005, dollars per barrel.

2002 2003 2004 2004 2005 2005 2005 quarter quarter April May June IV Brent oil price, Great 25,0 28,8 38,2 44,0 47,5 51,8 48,6 54,Britain Urals oil price, Russia 23,7 27,0 34,5 38,6 43,1 47,9 45,8 51,OPEC oil basket price 24,3 28,1 36,1 40,0 43,7 49,6 47,0 52,Data source: OECD International Energy Agency, OPEC.

Development of the oil and gas production sector of the Russian economy in the first half of was characterized by the remaining upward trend in production of oil and oil products that was formed in the period between 2000 and 2004. At the same time, oil production growth rates decreased drastically in 2005. Oil production volumes, including gas condensate, grew by mere 2.7% in the first half of 2005 as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, while oil production growth reached 8.9 to11% annually in the period between 2002 and 2004 ( see Table 2 ). Natural gas production continued to grow, which started in 2002, and accounted for 0.9% in the first half of 2005 as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. The volume of primary oil refining increased by 5.3%, while the depth of oil refining was 71.0% in the first half of 2005, which corresponded to the level of the first half of 2004.

Table Production of Oil, Oil Products and Natural Gas in 2002-2005, as % of corresponding period of the previous year 2002 2003 2004 I Oil, including gas condensate 109,0 111,0 108,9 102,Primary oil refining 103,3 102,7 102,6 105,Motor gasoline 104,9 101,2 103,8 105,Diesel fuel 104,7 102,0 102,7 106,Residual fuel oil 107,1 100,3 97,8 105,Natural gas, billion cubic meters 101,9 103,4 101,6 100,Data source: Federal State Statistics Service.

A marked growth in prices of oil and oil products, which was observed in the domestic market in 2004 and influenced mostly by the growth in world oil prices and expanding oil export capabilities, gave way to a decrease in the first months of 2005, but resumed in March. This resulted in that prices of oil, diesel fuel and residual fuel oil reached their maximum peaks in May 2005 within the entire post-reform period. In May, prices of motor gasoline, which reached its maximum peaks ( 353,USD/ton ) in November 2004, was 333,1 USD/ton thus reaching the level of the end of 2004. Prices of gas exceeded markedly pre-devaluation level over the last few months and reached 12,4 USD per thousand cubic meters in May ( see Table 3 ).

High level of world oil prices was responsible for a considerable growth in export earnings ( see Figure 1 and 2 ). Total value of oil and basic oil products export ( motor gasoline, diesel fuel and residual fuel oil ) was 29,3 bln US dollars or increased by 59% in the period between January and April 2005 as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. At the same time, oil export decreased by 0.9%, while oil products export increased by 7,5% ( see Table 4 ) in physical terms in the period between January and April 2005 as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

Export accounted for 59.4% of residual oil fuel and 22,3% of motor gasoline commercial stocks ( to compare: in 1999, export share in motor gasoline production was mere 7.2% ). As a result, a share of fuel and energy products in the Russian export reached 61.6%, including 32.5% of crude oil in the period between January and Mayl 2005.

Table Domestic Prices of Oil, Oil Products and Natural Gas in Terms of US Dollars in 2002-2005 ( average prices of producers, UDS/ton) 2002 2003 2004 2005 2005 December December December March April May 60,7 70,1 123,5 120,7 137,1 154,Motor gasoline 168,8 236,9 333,1 287,2 328,6 333,Diesel fuel 153,8 214,3 364,3 347,5 377,8 375,Residual fuel oil 66,1 66,0 69,4 75,4 100,4 113,, USD./thousand cubic 5,9 4,4 10,5 12,1 12,1 12,meters Data source: calculated on the basis of the data from the Federal State Statistics Service.

Import of oil products has been reducing in the current year in contrast to the previous several years when it was growing markedly. Import of oil products declined by 44% in the period between January and April 2005 as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. At the same time, import of motor gasoline decreased by 95% in the period between January and April 2005 as compared to the previous year, while a share of import in gasoline resources dropped from 0.5% to 0.02% ( to compare: a share of import was 8.7% in gasoline resources in the first half of 1998, i.e. prior to RUR devaluation ).

Table Export of Oil, Oil Products and Natural Gas in Russia in 2002 - 2005, as % of corresponding period of the previous year 2002 2003 2004 January - April Oil total 113,9 117,8 115,0 99,including:

to non-CIS countries 109,9 118,9 116,3 98,to CIS countries 137,3 112,4 108,3 103,Total oil products 118,5 103,6 105,5 107,including:

to non-CIS countries 119,1 102,6 104,9 109,to CIS countries 102,8 132,3 117,9 72,Gas total 102,4 102,0 105,5 105,Data source: Federal State Statistics Service.

Analysis of the situation in the world oil market shows that there are a number of actors that will keep world oil prices high in the short term. According to a forecast made by the US Ministry of Energy, a leading organization in the field of analysis and forecast for the world oil market, the demand for oil is expected to be stable globally, though more moderate than in 2004. In the period between 2005 and 2006, the world demand for oil is expected to grow annually by a average of 2,1 ml barrels daily or by 2.5% annually, which is slightly below the growth in 2004 ( 3.4% ). Oil demand in China is expected to slightly decline but remain stable ( 600 thousand barrels daily per year ) in the period between 2005 and 2006. According to the forecast, an increase in oil production in OPEC nonmember countries would not satisfy the worldwide demand for oil. Oil production in OPEC nonmember countries is expected to increase by 0,8 ml barrels daily in the period between 2005 and 2006, which is slower than the growth rates recorded in the period between 2002 and 2004. A decrease in oil production growth rates in Russia has a material effect on oil production movements in OPEC nonmember countries. The number of idle oil production facilities, which has lately been markedly reduced, are expected to remain low. In spite of the forecasted increase in the number of oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries in the period between 2005 and 2006, world idle oil production facilities may even be reduced as compared to the level in 2004, if the world demand for oil would grow faster than it is expected. Refining and freight service facilities are expected to remain limited. Consequently, the profit of oil refining enterprises and freight service rates are expected to remain high. Such geopolitical risks as instability in Iraq and likely problems in Nigeria and Venezuela, will keep the world oil market highly unstable. In addition, it should be taken in account that public regulation of energy prices in China and India will mute potential effect of high oil prices on the demand, while the restrictions imposed on access of foreign oil companies to the development of oil fields in the MiddleEast countries, Russia and Venezuela will interfere with rapid creation of new oil production facilities.

High oil prices have degraded considerably incentives of oil producing countries to attract foreign investments.

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