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The third negative signal was a sharp increase (by 13 points) in the balance of evaluations of finished stocks. At present almost one third of the Russian enterprises assess their finished stocks as excessive. The surveys have not observed such a level since January of 2003. The factor behind these developments was the increase in output in the situation of a decline (deceleration of the rates of growth) in demand. Taking into account the fact that in 2001 through 2004 January and February traditionally demonstrated not too good dynamics of sales, the persistence of the previous rates of output will result in even more significant overstocking of finished stocks and will most probably make enterprises to diminish the intensity of output.

As usual, at the end of a year the balance of forecasts of changes in demand declines to its minimum. In December and November it made + 3 per cent, what is a years minimum, which, however, is above the level registered a year ago. An absolute decline in sales is possible in ferrous metallurgy, chemistry, petrochemistry, forestry complex, and light industry. The adjustment for the seasonal factor provides a higher result (+ 16 per cent); however, this result presents the minimum of 2004 being above the results observed in 2003.

Forecasts of changes in output also diminished to the minimal values registered over the year; however, they remain positive according to all estimates. In the beginning of 2005, the growth in output will persist in the industry and its intensity will as usual exceed the intensity of growth in effective demand.

S. Tsukhlo Russia: causes of meat price growth in By November 2004 retail prices for meat products in Russia grew by 16.3% (November 2004/December 2003) while the respective overall consumer price index equaled 110.5%. There is a view that this growth is due to the constraining of meat import by means of tariff (for red meat) and absolute (for poultry) quotas beginning from spring 2003.

Lets examine whether these quotas were efficient and have they really brought the desired result, i.e. the growth of domestic production.

The output of basic livestock products is decreasing as well as livestock number. The only exception is poultry the output of which in recent years grows by 15-17% annually (in 10 months 2004 production of poultry meat was up 19% as compared with the same period 200315).

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX 2003 Livestock and poultry for slaughter (live weight) Source: Federal Service of State Statistics.

Fig. 1. Output of basic livestock products, as % of the previous month Imports of raw meat to Russia from the non-CIS countries fell noticeably (Table 1). This trend was most obvious in the first year of meat quotas application (2003). In 2004 imports of pork and beef to the Russian market were down slightly (by 10%) but still remained above indicators of the previous years when quotas were not applied.

In 2003 imports of meat products from the CIS countries grew sharply but in 2004 they started to fall. The principal cause thereof is that after a heated discussion of problems entailed by escalating grey import of meat from the CIS (in fact originating from other countries) customs bodies stiffened control over supplies from these states. Besides, raw meat supplied by them is much more expensive than that from the non-CIS countries and thus processors demand for it is limited (Table 2).

However, the declining import of raw meat was outweighed by growing supplies of meat products, especially from the CIS countries (Table 1). So, Russia has actually introduced a regression scale of import duty. All countries strive to strengthen tariff protection as degree of processing grows while the introduction of meat quotas in Russia stimulated import of processed products and discouraged import of raw meat (Table 1).

The decrease of imports and domestic production has not affected supply indicators: in 9 months 2004 retail sales of meat products grew by 4.6% as compared with the same period last year. This shows that rise of prices for meat is due to higher real personal incomes rather than smaller supply.

The second factor of price growth is surely the increase of CIS share in meat imports value from 9% in 2002 (before the introduction of quotas) to 10.5-12% in 2003-2004 (for meat products up to 37% in the first half of 2004). Since prices for raw meat from the CIS are much higher than those paid Social and economic situation in Russia. Federal Service of State Statistics, January-October 2004, p. 66.

to the non-CIS countries (Table 2), prices for meat products manufactured out of this input on the average grow.

Table Imports of meat and meat products 2003/2002, % I-VI 2004/I-VI 2003, % Total CIS Total CIS 106.2 119.1 89.8 56.Beef 88.8 1007.7 74.9 75.Pork 87.1 145.5 89.5 15.Poultry meat 109.5 286.7 218.2 520.Meat products Source: calculated using data of RF State Customs Committee.

Table Average import prices for meat, dollars per ton 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 I-VI Import from the non-CIS countries Red meat 6 1471 958 1072 925 1099 1061 1301.Poultry meat 709 691 651 535 546 589 586 601.Import from the CIS countries Red meat 4 1724 1151 1284 1687 1463 1437 Poultry meat 2 657 1243 816 1340 1108 899 1518.Source: calculated using data of RF State Customs Committee.

The situation on the Russian meat market is also apparently affected by the upward trend of the world meat prices16.

So, meat quotas introduced by Russia in 2003 have led neither to larger domestic production nor to smaller imports. At the same time they entailed change in the structure of meat and meat products import that was one (although not the only) factor of price growth on the domestic market.

E. Serova., N. Karlova Foreign trade Major factors which made, in 2004, a positive effect on the growth of the RF foreign trade turnover were favorable for the Russian exporters, world market conjuncture and for growth of effective domestic demand. As a result, in October, the Russias major foreign trade indices continued to grow.

Basically, the formation of the normative-legal base, regulating the Russian foreign economic activity, has been completed. Yet, monitoring of activities performed in the course of the year in conditions of the new Customs Code showed that problems still remain, and amendments are to be made to both - the Code itself and to normative acts issued on its basis.

In October 2004, the Russias foreign trade turnover, calculated according to balance of payment methodology made up USD 25.2 bn, which by 28,1% exceeded the same indicator of last year, with the growth rates of export deliveries (in value terms) to significantly surpass the growth of import. As a result, the trade balance made up USD 8.2 bn, which by 46,6% higher than October level of last year.

For the majority of commodity items the foreign trade conditions had been improved for the Russian Federation. On average, rise in export prices by 12 % exceeded that of import prices.

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-1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Balance Export Import Source: Central Bank of the RF Fig. 1. Major Indices of the Russian Foreign Trade (bn dollars) In October 2004, the volume of export (in value terms) by 32,3% exceeded the same indicator of 2003 and reached USD 16.7 bn. Price factor plays major part in such a growth. According to the estimate of the Bank of Russia, in October 2004, as compared to previous month, the world prices (with account of export structure by totality of goods including about 65% of its cost) increased on average by 9,3%. As compared to October 2003, they were higher by 37,3%.

In October 2004, as compared to September, the world prices of the Russian fuel and energy complex raised on average by 11,2%, while compared to October 2003 1,4 times.

The world prices of copper and aluminum raised in October 2004 to the levels last time observed in August 1995. Such rise has been caused by excess of demand over supply, which is observed in the non-ferrous metals market since the start of the 2004 year. So, according to the data of reserves on the London Metal Exchange, copper reserves began to decrease by 78% since the start of the year, aluminum by 52%. In October this year, the rise in nickel prices was caused by heavy demand for stainless steel, in which production it is consumed over 85% of all the extracted nickel.

Table Monthly Average World Prices in October of Corresponding Year 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Oil (Brent), 24.08 17.9 12.8 24.1 32.14 21.45 27.2 29.6 49.USD/barrel Natural gas, USD/1 2.742 2.346 2.205 2.558 5.767 2.649 4.144 5.162 7.mln. BTU Gasoline, USD/gallon 0.67 0.569 0.421 0.699 0.895 0.603 0.801 0.841 1.Copper, USD/t 1968.5 1900.7 1659.2 1748.1 1838.6 1405.1 1519.0 1916.4 3012.Aluminum, USD/t 1341.1 1538.5 1354.2 1470.7 1473.5 1280.8 1313.2 1474.8 1822.Nickel, USD/t 7060.9 6240.5 4262.4 7984.2 7353.2 4836.8 6840.9 11030.4 14483.Source: based on the data of the London Metal Exchange, International Oil Exchange (London) As a consequence of such a favorable world market conjuncture, as before, there are two most important commodity groups that form the basis for increase of the Russian exports of goods: fuel and energy goods, which export in value terms increased in January-October 2004, as compared to the same period of 2003, by 33,7%, and metals and items made from them (increase - 60,6%).

At the end of 2004 the term of agreement expires signed between the EC and Russia in July 2002 on steel shipment quotas. For the year and a half its terms were constantly reviewed, and the size of quota increased from 1.2 to 2.04 mln tons. In October 2004, the parties agreed that the steel quota for will be increased up to 2.217 mln tons, i.e. almost by 10%. The Agreement is to be initialed and then ratified by both parliaments. Most probably, the document will be approved even in March 2005. New Jul.

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limits will be in effect until the end of 2006 or until Russias entry the WTO following which will lose its right to quote the Russias steel shipments. In the case the ratification has been failed, the EU agreed to keep for 2005-2006 the applicable restrictions of 2.04 mln tons.

The growth of import is based on real ruble strengthening and high, though somewhat slowed in the third quarter, economic growth indicators. For January-October 2004, strengthening of the real effective ruble rate made up 4,9%.

The continued economic growth and relatively not high inflation made for an increase of real disposable incomes of the population. In January-October 2004, as compared to the same period of 2003, they increased by 9% (In January-October 2003 by 13,6%). All this leads to growth of the consumer demand of both population and industrial enterprises.

As a result, the import deliveries in value terms increased in October 2004 by 20,7% and reached USD 8.5 bn, which a record figure for past 15 years.

Improvement of the normative-legal base, which regulates the Russian foreign economic activity, also made an effect on rising the foreign trade indicators in 2004. At present it includes the new Customs Code of the RF, about 20 resolutions of the RF Government, and over 80 statutory regulations of the Federal Customs Service of the RF issued for the development of the Customs Code. More than 900 legal acts, which did not comply with the renewed customs legislation, were annulled in the period of January to October 2004. The mechanisms introduced in the Customs Code, came into operation and produce their positive results, though some problems still remain.

The forecast of the volumes of import and export in 2005 is given in the bulletin Scenario Macroeconomic Forecast for 2005, placed on the iETs site www.iet.ru.

One of the most important innovations of the RF Customs Committee possibility to use the simplified customs clearance procedures for individual persons. Article 68 of the RF Customs Committee grants the right to set simplified procedures. But the RF Customs Committee did not set any allowance regulations for simplified procedures. As a consequence, such an important measure as removing unnecessary administrative procedures and simplifying customs clearance is still not operational.

Another important innovation of the RF Customs Committee the use of electronic goods declaring (article 63.8 of the RF Customs Committee) is also not fully implemented. Introduction of electronic goods declaring in the context of turnover acceleration, clean-up and unreliable declaring control is highly topical. At present an electronic form of declaring is used in full only at Moscow customs offices. Their equipping with computer facilities and data transmission channels fully meets the requirements. By now, they have cleared totally 1700 electronic cargo declarations.

The main difference of electronic declaration (ED) from that of a hard copy is in that can be simpler made (an average length of paper declaration is 120 pages), and it need not be handed over in the customs authority, but can be e-mailed. In this case, data accuracy is ascertained by an electronic digital signature, which enable customs officers to identify the sender, and also exclude possibility of its changing by third persons. In Russia an electronic declaring first appeared in 2002, after adoption of the Federal Law "On Electronic Digital Signature, which, in fact, equaled digital and personal signatures.

In 2005, it is planned to introduce goods electronic declaring at 56 more customs posts of all the regional customs agencies, including Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo customs. In point of fact, the customs authorities of Russia from an experiment started in November 2002 at the customs post Kashirsky of the Central customs agency proceed to its mass use.

Coming into force the new RF Customs Committee caused considerable changes in the composition of the so-called near-customs structures (custom brokers, customs carriers, operators of temporary storage warehouses).

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