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The volume of imports over the same period reached 75,4 bln US dollars and exceeded by 23,6% the volume of 2002. A relative cheapening of imports of raw materials and material and technical resources had a substantial impact upon the competitive environment and revealed growth problems. In particular, though the mainline import behavior was constrained by a sufficiently strong competitive position of the Russian manufacturers of food products, an increase in investment import was accompanied by ousting Russian manufacturers from the markets. The growth rate of foreign trade turnover was increased from 108,3% in 2002 to 125,3% in 2003. The balance of foreign trade accounted for nearly 5 bln US dollars on the average per month, which is comparable with the record figures achieved in 2000. Improved trading conditions resulted in export surplus in 2003 up to 59,6 bln US dollars as against 46,6 bln US dollars in 2002.

The global and Russian markets’ environment led to a fairly quick response by the domestic business community aimed at restoring the processes of transformation of export earnings into development of the internal market. Since early in 2003, an intensive growth in investment demand had a dominating impact on behavior and structure of the Russian economy. A share of capital investments in GDP at year-end 2003 accounted for 17,4%, thus exceeding by 1 percentage point the average figure achieved between 1999 and 2002. The accumulated development potential had a positive effect on the consumers’ sector. In the structure of commodity resources of retail trading a share of import was practically stabilized in 2003. In the 1st quarter it accounted for 45%, in the 2nd and 3rd quarters – 43%, which corresponds to the figure of 2002. Therefore, the growth in effective demand of the population was satisfied in equal proportion by imported and exported goods. A share of internal demand in GDP remained at the average level achieved between 1999 and 2000. The volume of GDP in 2003 accounted for 13304,7 bln rubles and exceeded by 7,3% the level of the previous year. The growth rate was accelerated against the backgrounds of priority foreign trade turnover. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Economic Development, nearly 60% of gain in the GDP in 2003 is due to internal factors – increased capital investments and personal incomes, and 30% due to the increase in average annual price of Russian oil in the global market.

The economic growth between 1999 and 2003 was featured by increased gross savings. A share of gross savings in the GDP over the last five years varied within 28,6% and 36,7% with a fairly favorable combination of stepping-up domestic business and high prices of raw material resources in the global market. This allowed the government to honor in full its liabilities on national debt and social programs. In 2003, gross national savings grew to 32,5% of the GDP, as against 30,1% of the GDP in 2002, under the influence of growing export earnings and foreign investment inflow on the one hand, and retarded growth in final consumption of households due to an intention to save on the other hand. Analysis of capital transaction accounts demonstrates a gradually weakening load on the economy by transactions with other countries, however, the asymmetry of gross savings, resources of gross capital formation and capital investments did not diminish. The share of capital investments in the GDP over the period between 2000 and 2003 remained at the level of 16,5% on the average, which accounted for nearly one half the savings.

Figure 2

Share of Gross Savings and Capital Investments as percentage
of GDP between 1992 and 2003

An investment burst between 1999 and 2001 had an effect on a small group of export-oriented industries but was unstable under changed market conditions. Given the low investment activity in the last year, the scale of investments over the last few years did not meet the real demand of upgrading of productive facilities. The problem of investment maneuver in favor of the industries producing goods and services with a higher added value, which can provide competitive ability for the Russian economy, remains to be resolved. With a potentially high level of investment demand in the domestic market, the trend to stabilization of the share of investment expenditures in the GDP reflected the lack of mechanisms of transformation of savings and eventually restricted economic growth.

In 2002, a retardation in investment growth was noted, down to 102,6% as against 108,7% in the previous year. The economy in 2003 was marked in terms of quality by transformation to the investment growth pattern. A special focus should be made upon the fact that this is supported by upward trend in labor productivity and transformational changes in the pattern of employment and demand for labor. In the 1st and 3rd quarter 2003, the gain in labor productivity accounted for nearly 8% with this parameter being changed within 0,2% ( 1st quarter ) and 3,6% ( 4th quarter ) during 2002.

According to a sample survey of employment ( the Russian State Statistics Committee), the number of employed in the economy in December 2003 dropped by 0,6 ml people and amounted to 64,6 ml people as opposed to the same period in 2002. The number of replaced work places in the first half of 2003 decreased by 876 thousand people as opposed to the same period of the previous year. The tension coefficient ( number of unemployed registered with employment services per vacancy ) increased from 1,3 to 2,0. Enterprises pursue an active policy aimed at restructuring employment and improving efficiency of labor time utilization. Compared to the first half of 2002, the number of part-time employees decreased by 20%, with the number of workers with forced leaves being reduced by 360 thousand people, or by 26%.

The decline in employment was noted mainly in good-producing industries, while employment in the service-producing industries increased by 271 thousand people. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Economic Development, within a period between January and June the increase in labor productivity in industry accounted for 112,1% and exceeded dynamics of production by 5,3 percentage points. The increase in labor productivity was revealed almost in all industries.

The labor force demand decreased against the backgrounds of a significant increase in business profits and corporate investments. Collation of data on the number of the employed by industry with other macroeconomic figures reveals that the increased labor productivity, especially in the goods-producing sector of the economy, allowed enterprises to reduce wage costs by restructuring employment, including extra job cuts.

The demand for skilled personnel increased considerably under a general tendency for job cuts. The share of those who lost jobs due to liquidation of their enterprises or own business is reducing against an increase in the share of unskilled and unqualified labor force. Such tendency is critical for further economic growth.

In the period of recovery growth a gap between the rates of labor productivity and wages is increased in favor of the latter. However, maintaining internal demand on the basis of increasing real wages and personal income is accompanied by redistribution of earnings from enterprises to individuals and results in increased operating costs.

Table 2

GDP Structure by Earnings between 1999 and 2003, as % of total

 

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Gross domestic product

100

100

100

100

100

Including

wages of employees ( including hidden wages )

40,1

40,2

43,0

46,6

46,0

net tax on production and import

15,7

17,1

15,7

14,1

13,7

Gross profit of economy and gross mixed income

44,2

42,7

41,3

39,3

40,3

Source: the Russian State Statistics Committee ( Goskomstat )

The share of wage costs in the structure of costs of goods manufactured over the period between 1999 and 2002 grew by 1,3 percentage points in the economy in general and by 2,2 percentage points in industry. A systematic growth in wage costs had a negative effect in production profitability. In general, profitability in 2002 accounted for 10,9% in the economy, 14,4% in industry and decreased almost by 10% as compared to the figures 2000.

In addition, in the period between 2002 and 2003, further increase in wage costs became limited by changed competitive environment in the commodity markets due to strengthening of the ruble and stronger import-related pressure. In 2003, на фоне intensive output growth обозначилось сближение темпов производительности труда и заработной платы the rates of labor productivity and wages. However, the impact of this process on performance efficiency of enterprises and organizations still remains extremely weak and unstable.

According to the practice gained over the last few years, it is the ratio between investment demand and final consumption that responds most to changes in export revenues and features the internal market.

The financial crisis of October 1997 – August 1998 had a most adverse affect on the social sector. Due to the ruble devaluation and sharp increase in consumer costs between 1998 and 1999 real income of the population dropped almost by quarter.

Under these circumstances, raising of living standards of the population was the necessary condition for the internal market’s recovery. Since the 3rd quarter of 1999, the real income of the population, as well as expenses on final consumption of households is characterized by a stable tendency for growth. Over the period between 2000 and 2003, real income of the population grew nearly by 1,5 times, and over 4/5 of gain of the GDP is explained by the growth in final consumption of the population. The number of population with income below the poverty line decreased to 33 ml people ( between 22 and 23% of the total population ) in 2003, compared with 35,8 ml people in 2002 and 39,4 ml people in 2001. The gain in real income of the population in 2003 accounted for 14,5% as opposed to the previous year, real wages – 10,4%, and pensions – 104,5%.

Positive dynamics of final consumption was one of the key factors of sustained development of the internal market. Final consumption grew against the backgrounds of a fairly stable ratio of households consumption to social transfers received from government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Figure 3

GDP Movement by Final Demand Component between
1999 and 2003, as % against previous year

Table 3

Gross Domestic Product Utilization Structure
between 1998 and 2003, as % of total

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Gross domestic product

100

100

100

100

100

100,0

Final consumption expenditures

77,8

68,0

61,3

65,1

68,1

67,4

Including:

households

56,8

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