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The industrial recovery in June 2005 ( 1 06.9% as compared to June 2004 ) gave way to a moderate growth in July ( 104.9% ) of the same year. The industrial growth accounted for 104.1% over seven months in 2005, as opposed to 107.2% in the period between January and July 2004. Manufacturing industries were responsible for the most of the growth, mining operations showed some growth, while the sector of production and distribution of electric power, gas and water virtually stagnated, according to the estimates of MERT.

The initial data on the Russian industrial situation in August 2005 provide no sufficient ground for overcoming the pessimistic expectations dominating over the last few months. Most of the industrial indicators tend to be negative rather than positive.

First, sales growth rates remain zero since last June, according to the estimates of industrial enterprises. The demand for domestic industrial products has not been growing for three consecutive months. Manufacturers of light, food processing and fuel industries are facing the biggest problems.

This increased a share of enterprises with backlog of demands. The share of such enterprises reached 50 53% in the period between June and July, the biggest one over the last 16 months. Though it was reduced to 47% in August, it remains the worst for this month in the period between 2003 and 2004.

Most of the below standard responds was received in fuel ( 69% ) and light industries ( 63% ), as well as mechanical engineering ( 55% ).

Second, stagnation in sales resulted in stagnation in industrial output: industrial output growth rates remain almost unchanged, since April 2005, and the lowest over the last two years. This, however, allowed manufacturers to improve the demand-related output. A share of enterprises reported of similar changes in demand and output reached 67% in August thus making a record over the last months. This indicator accounted for 79% in construction industry, 76% in mechanical engineering and 67% in wood industry.

The majority of manufacturers managed to avoid overstocking of their end products by following the demand with care. Enterprises had to adjust their production plans after warehouse overstocking that occurred in June after they failed to meet their expectations of sales growth, which allowed them to bring back their reserves evaluation balance to the level which has been typical of the last few years. This seems to be important in connection with drastic changes in forecasts of demand and output for the months to come.

Third, the level of capacity utilization confirms the lack of positive trends in output. It declined by 0.5 percentage points in Quarter 3 of 2005 ( up to 64.7% ) as compared to Quarter 1 of 2005, and by 2.5 percentage points as compared to Quarters 3 and 4 of 2004, when this indicator was reported the highest ( 67.2% ) according to the polls. Fuel, timber and wood-working industries, as well as metallurgy are currently demonstrating the highest capacity utilization: 87%, 86% and 82% respectively.

This indicator dropped down to 56% in mechanical engineering from 61% Quarter 4 of 2004, and to 61% from 69% in Quarter 2 of 2005 in light industry.

Forth, it is the second quarter on end that machinery and equipment purchases show no growth in the industry as a whole. The balance of changes in this indicator declined to reach 2-3 percentage points, while it was 8 percentage points a year ago.

Industrial enterprise had to make a complete revision of their demand forecasts and production plans in August. The balance of forecasts lost ( after seasonal data cleaning ) 17 percentage points to become negative for the first time since early in 1999 it was for the first time since the post-crisis recovery that a share of enterprises expecting reduction in sales exceed a share of those which expected sales growth. The difference, however, is negligible, and the bulk of enterprises hope that they will be able to retain their previous sales volumes. All industries, except for food and electric power industries, made negative forecasts.

Production plans of industrial enterprises also reached minimal figures since 1999. They lost percentage points since April 2005, when expectations were reported most optimistic during the entire period of monitoring. Though the output growth plans prevail over those expecting output reduction in the majority of industries ( except for fuel and construction industries ), there is no so much optimism as before, especially in the case with chemical, petrochemical and light industries, as well as mechanical engineering.

Investment plans lost 23 percentage points to become negative during the quarter. The number of enterprises that pan to reduce purchase of machinery and equipment prevail over the number of those planning otherwise. Only ferrous industry, metallurgy, chemical, petrochemical and food processing industries are likely to increase their purchases in the months to come.

S. V. Tsukhlo Foreign trade In June 2005 Russia continued the growth of its foreign trade turnover. Further growth of the cost of export is explained by maintenance of the favorable foreign economic situation, in particular, by high level of world prices for oil, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Expansion of import deliveries is determined by growth of economy and continued strengthening of the national currency.

At the summit of the states participants of the Common economic space, that was held in August 2005, Russia, Byelorussia and Kazakhstan agreed to fully standardize their customs tariffs until the end of 2006. However, position of the Ukraine was left unclear. It intended to participate in forming the Common economic space, but refused to join the Customs Union.

In June 2005 the Russian foreign trade turnover, calculated upon the balance of payment methodology, reached USD 29.9 bn, which exceeded the similar indicator of 2004 by 31,1%. In June this year there were export deliveries to the amount of USD 19,8 bn, which by 32,9% is greater than in June 2004. The imported deliveries made up USD 10.1 bn, having exceeded the last year indicator by 29%.

As compared to the level of June 2004, the balance of foreign trade increased by 38,6% and made USD 9.7 bn.

In the first half of 2005, goods turnover made up USD 166.1 bn. An increase of the goods turnover by 35%, in comparison with the same period of 2004, is explained by considerable rise in export cost, with less, but still considerable growth of import.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Balance Export Import Source: Goskomstat of the RF, Central Bank of the RF Fig. 1 Major Indices of the Russian Foreign Trade (bn dollars) As before, the high growth rates of export are explained by favorable state of affairs of the world market. By an estimate of the Bank of Russia, the world prices, with account of the Russian export structure as aggregated by goods, comprising about 70% of its cost, increased in June 2005, as comJul Jul Jul Jul Jul Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Apr Okt Apr Okt Apr Okt Apr Okt Apr Okt pared to previous month, on average by 6,6%. For the first six months of 2005, compared with relevant period of 2004, they were higher on average by 37%.

Table Monthly Average World Prices in June of Corresponding Year 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Oil (Brent), USD/ barrel 17,95 18,28 13,83 15,99 29,41 27,14 24,66 27,06 35,2 53,Natural gas, USD/1 mln BTU - 2,136 2,159 2,358 4,245 3,704 3,254 5,891 6,409 7,Gasoline, USD/gallon 0,440 0,441 0,359 0,485 0,970 0,820 0,767 0,858 1,228 1,Copper, USD/t 2202 2543 1665 1552,1 1752,0 1615,3 1686,2 1703,2 2669,3 Aluminum, USD/t 1490 1575 1316 1327,3 1510,2 1467,7 1354,9 1410,2 1675,6 Nickel, USD/t 7153,8 7054,6 4540 5241 8384,3 6629,2 7110,0 8761,1 13322,5 Source: calculated according to the data of London Metal Exchange (Great Britain, London), International Petroleum Exchange (London) In June 2005, the world oil prices predominantly increased. The major reasons, that affected price dynamic, was information on the state of oil stock and oil products in the USA. Rise in oil prices was also caused by an intention of China to start formation of strategic oil reserve of volume of 100 million barrels, necessary for functioning of the countrys economy within a month.

The decision of the emergency OPEC session (held on June 15 in Vienna) to increase, since July 1, daily oil production quota by 0,5 mln barrels to 28 mln barrels practically had no effect on the world prices, as in April-May the actual oil production by OPEC countries was 28,1 mln barrels a day, and with account of Iraq - 30 mln barrels a day. In addition, the cartel administration considers a possibility of full cancellation of a oil production quota system as an instrument that lost its effect on the market.

In June 2005, against May, an average oil price of Brent, Dubaiskaya and Zapadnotekhasskaya increased by 12,7% - to USD 53.9 a barrel, Urals - by 13,4% - to USD 51.1 a barrel. In January-June 2005, in comparison with relevant period of 2004 the oil prices were on average higher by 43 and 46% accordingly.

In June 2005, against the previous month, the prices of oil products were on average higher by 9,8% (diesel fuel went up by 14,1%, gasoline 4,1%, fuel oil - by 2,9%). In January-June 2005, in comparison with relevant period of 2004 the prices of oil products were on average higher by 45% (diesel fuel went up by 53%, gasoline - by 29%, fuel oil - by 37%).

In June 2005, against the previous month, the prices of natural gas in June went up in Europe by 0,3%, in the USA by 11,1%. In January-June 2005, as compared to January-June 2004, the natural gas went up in Europe by 45%, in the USA - by 14%.

In June 2005, against the previous month, the world prices of the production of Russian fuel and energy complex went up on average by 8,8%. In January-June 2005, as compared to the same period of 2004, they were higher by 44%.

In June 2005, against the previous month, the ferrous metals rose in price by 0,6%, while in January-June 2005 in comparison with the same period of 2004 such prices were higher by 20%.

Continuation of strengthening of the US dollar supported lowering of prices on the world market of non-ferrous metals, in particular for aluminum and nickel. Rising in the world prices for copper is largely explained in June by the threat of strike on the integrated plant of Asarco Inc. in Arizona, which may lead to drop in production by 50%, and to labor conflicts at the mine Placer Dome Inc. in Chile, the outcome of which became decline in the output of products by 25%. In addition, the growth of demand for copper on the part of China led to lowering to its minimum level of its stock on the London Metal Exchange over 30 years.

In June 2005 against the previous month the prices for non-ferrous metals decreased on average by 1,5%, including aluminum became cheaper by 0,7%, nickel by 4,6%, copper went up by 8,3%. In January-June 2005, in comparison with the relevant period of 2004 the prices for non-ferrous metals were higher by 14% (aluminum was higher by 11%, copper - by 21%, nickel - by 17%).

Basing on the data of the Bank of Russia, in the end of the quarter of 2005 against December of 2004 an index of real ruble strengthening to the basket of currencies of trading partners made 7,7%, relevant indicator for euro is equal to 11,7%, while for US dollar 4,2%. In parallel with that the level of GDP in January-June 2005 increased by 5,6% against the relevant period. The strengthened purchasing power of ruble versus foreign currencies and the growth of revenues in the economy objectively boosted the achievement of the higher level of import.

As a result, for the first six months of the year the cost of goods import increased by 27,7% in relation to the indicator of January-June 2004 and made up USD 54.1 bn.

Because the strengthening of ruble to euro was noticeably higher than to the basket of currencies of trading partners, import from far-abroad countries (in which the European Union plays most significant role) was more stimulated and rose by 31,5% as compared to the rise of import of 13,3% from CIS states. If the import from far-abroad countries rose largely due to physical quantities, rise of the import from CIS 7states happened practically entirely at the expense of its appreciation (in the first half of 2005 the volume index of import from far-abroad countries amounted 129,4%, CIS - 92,4%).

In August 2005 there was a summit of the heads of the states common economic space (CES), under which the presidents discussed the prospects of signing necessary contracts. However, they could not decide the chief problem of CES: as before the Ukraine refuses to sign all the necessary documents.

On creation of the Common economic space (CES) the leaders of Russia, Ukraine Byelorussia and Kazakhstan announced in February 2003. CES provides creation of free zone, the Customs Union, free movement of capital and manpower, uniform rules for the support of producers and appearance of supranational bodies, which, in particular will determine customs tariffs. For this the participants are to approve in all 93 agreements.

The Ukraine hampered integration within the frame of CES ever since the moment, the four states agreed about its establishing. As requested by Ukrainians, for example, it was stipulated in the text of agreement on CES, that countries may join it with different speeds. At the last session of the group on forming the Union the Ukrainian party stated that it was ready to sign 15 agreements out of 29 primary and 25 more that are less urgent. Ukrainians refused to sign the remaining agreements, wherein the principles of operation of the Customs Union was formulated. They stated that the principles of organization of eastern policy of the Ukraine must not be in conflict with the principles of organization of policy directed to the European Union. One of most conflict principles is a tariff agreement.

They also are against supranational bodies in CES.

In case the Ukraine refuses to enter CES, free zone will come into effect between our nations. Such a zone is in effect currently, but with some withdrawals. Basically they concern agricultural products.

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