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Oil ( brent), USD/






Natural gas, USD/mln.m3






Petrol, USD/






Copper USD/t






Aluminum, UDS/t






Nickel, USD/t.






The growth in exports was also generated by the rising prices for exchange commodities which do not belong to energy sources, particularly, for non- ferrous metals and, primarily, nickel. In early- 2000, the situation in the market for ferrous metals also somewhat improved.

Import supplies grow thanks to the gradual alleviation of the consequences of the Rb. depreciation and the growing population’s real income and volume of sales of import goods.

Because of unfavorable weather conditions in 1999, the gross grain output has turned out to be insufficient, which led to purchases additional quantity of that abroad, mostly to be used in animal farming.

In the Ist Quarter 2000, Russia imported 912.6 Thos.t. of wheat vs. 81.2 Thos.t. in the respective period of the prior year ( 11.2 time more). According to the SCC and RF Goskomstat data, the main volume of supplies- 907.4 Thos. t. falls on the CIS countries, while grain imports from Far- Abroad countries remained unchanged- 5.2 Thos.t. The average price for 1 t. of wheat made up USD 91.4 vs. 90.2 between January to March 1999.

At the same time, the wheat export slid from 374.8 Thos.t. over the three months 1999 to 56 Thos.t. over th respective period of this year.

In the Ist Quarter 2000, the import of barley- corn made up 274.4 Thos.t. vs. 53.7 Thos.t. over the respective period of the prior year. The main volume of barley-corn imports - 195.7 Thos.t. was also imported from CIS. The price for 1 t. of barley- corn made up USD 63.1 vs. 50.1 in the first Quarter 1999.

According to statistical data, the import of Indian corn grew from 9.5 Thos.t. over the three months of the prior year up to 48.8 Thos.t. over the respective period of 2000. Like in 1999, this year the major part of Indian -corn supplies- 38.3 Thos.t. falls on Far- Abroad countries, and the price for 1 t. of Indian corn made up USD 121.1 vs. 439.4 in the first Quarter 1999.

In all, between January to March Russia imported rain crops worth a total USD 142 mln. vs. 28.1 mln. in the first Quarter 1999.

In the period between January to March 2000, the non- organized ( shuttle) trade fell by 0.5% relative to its respective period of the prior year and made up USD 2.6 bln., including shuttle trade with Far- Abroad states amounted to USD 2.0 bln. ( a 1.0% growth), and a. USD 0.6 bln.- worth trade with CIS states ( a 5.1% fall). The share of shuttle trade in the overall Russia’s foreign trade turnover was accounted for 7.8%, including 1.5% in export and 23.0%- in import.

In March 2000, Russia’s balance of foreign trade became positive and made up USD 5 bln. ( in March 2000 it was positive and reached USD 2.3 bln.). In the first Quarter 2000 the balance of foreign trade was positive- USD 13.7 bln. ( in the first Quarter 1999 it also was positive- USD 6.0 bln.).

In terms of the geographic structure of Russia’s foreign trade turnover, the share of EU made up 33.5, Asia- Pacific countries- 15%, Central- and Eastern- European Countries- 15%, CIS countries- 20.1% of the country’s foreign trade turnover.

According to Goskomstat, in the first Quarter this year the volume of Russia’ s mutual trade with CIS countries made up USD 6.7 bln., provided that export made up USD 4.0 bln. ( a 37.75 growth compared with the prior year), while import supplies also grew- by 36.2% and made up USD 2.7 bln. The positive balance this made up USD 1.3 bln. Hence, this year in the sphere of trade within the framework of the Commonwealth, the CIS countries have almost overcome the consequences of the Russian financial crisis and reached the volume of trade characteristic of the prior years.

At the summit of heads of governments of the countries- members of the Customs Union held in late- May in Minsk, the parties still debated the problem of implementation of the multilateral agreement on free trade. The Agreement has not yet been ratified by the Russian parliament whose concern is a sharp downfall in customs payments to the budget.

The regular round of talks on Russia’s accession to WTO in Geneva took place in late- May in Geneva. To proceed with negotiations regarding its accession to WTO, Russia will have to provide an additional information regarding amending its foreign trade legislation, particularly, clarification of a whole set of issues which range from copyright protection and subsidies in the industrial sector to restrictions on poultry and alcohol imports. Head of the Russian delegation declared to the WTO members, of which leading embers are the US, EU and Japan, that Moscow would like to accelerate the negotiations, however the Western experts are unanimous in their view that Russian will have to enter in bilateral trade agreements with all the leading countries, and the prospects of Russia’s accession to WTO in the forthcoming future are illusory.

N. Volovik, N. Leonova

Forecast of international oil prices

In the short run, the dynamics of world prices for oil will be determined primarily by the level of output of OPEC countries, who changed their policy of a rigid restricting of oil output for the policy of its moderate increase. Considering the decisions made at the March 2000 OPEC session, according to the projections of the US Energy Department, the oil output of OPEC countries should grow by a. 3.8% compared with the prior year, and by 4.9%-in 2001. Thus, for the whole 2000 the OPEC countries’ daily oil output would become at a. 1.1 mln. barrel more than the average level of 1999, and in 2001 the OPEC countries are expected to raise their output by yet 1.5 mln. barrel/day.

One should also expect the growth in oil output beyond OPEC, for higher world prices should encourage production expansion. It is projected that in 2000 the oil output of non- OPEC countries would grow by 0.6 mln. barrel/day, in 2001- by yet 0.9 mln. barrel/day thanks to chiefly the increase in output in the Northern sea, Mexico, South America, and Africa.

In all, in 2000, according to the US Energy Department, the world oil output, which slid by 1.3% in 1999 relative to the prior year, should grow by a. 2.4%, and in 2001- by 3.2%. The increase in oil output should lead to the drop in the level of world oil prices over 2000-2001.

It is envisaged that in 2000 the world demand for oil should grow by a. 1.7% (in 1999 the increment made up 1.4%), and in 2001- by 2.5%. Given that in 1999 the world demand for oil grew by a. 0.9 mln. barrel/day, it is envisaged that in 2000 it should grow by 1.3 mln. barrel/day, in 2001 – by yet 1.9 mln. barrel/day. The recovery of the Asian countries after the 1997-98 economic crises should stimulate the growth in the world demand, however it should be slowed down slightly by high oil prices.

Like in 1999, in 2000 the world demand for oil should exceed the offer, which would lead to the further decrease in its commercial stock ( by a. 0.3 mln. barrel/day). During the whole 2000, the OECD countries will find their oil stock being sufficiently lower than the average level of 1990-97. It is projected that in 2000 the output should exceed the demand, which will entail the growth in the oil reserves.

According to the basic variant of the last ( May 2000) forecast of the US Energy Department, the world price for oil which is calculated as the average oil price imported to the US should make up USD 24.35/barrel, provided that the maximum value- USD 26.5/barrel should take place in the Ist Quarter, while by the end of the year the price should drop to USD 23.4. In 2001, one should also note a steady, albeit rather slow, fall in the oil prices: by the end of the year the oil price should make up a. USD 20.8/barrel (Table 1, Fig.1)

Table 1

World prices for oil in 1998- 2001, USD/barrel



2000 (forecast)

2001 (forecast)

Price for oil imported to US (forecast by the US Energy Department, basic variant)





Price for Urals*, Russia (estimated)





*CIF, Mediterranean

The forecast provides rather a wide range of optional fluctuations from the basic variant, because of the impact of certain factors. Considering possible fluctuations, according to the US Energy Department’s forecast, by late- 2000 the world oil price will find itself within the range USD 20 to 27/barrel, and USD 17-25/barrel – by late 2001.

Table 2 shows the world oil price projections for the period until 2020 made by leading foreign research centers. AS the data shows, the forecasts differ substantially, due to the original stand of their authors with regard to prospects of the world oil output and oil demand. Thus, for 2005 the forecasts vary from USD 15.70 ( Platt’s) to 20.97/barrel (NRCan: they had published their forecast yet in 1997, but proved it unchanged in their publication of December 1999). The US Energy Department’s forecast for 2005 is higher than the ones by the majority of other institutions- USD 20.49/ barrel, which actually coincides with the International Energy Agency’s projections ( USD 20.47) and is close to the PIRA’s figures ( USD 19.75), while the projections of the others ( Platt’s, WEFAS, DBAB, GRI and PEL) are substantially lower and range between USD 15.7 to 17.9/barrel.

Table 2

Projections of world oil prices for the period until 2020 ( in the 1998 USD/barrel)







US Energy Department

April 2000.

Basic variant





High- price variants





Low- price variant





Standard&Poor’s Platt’s






WEFA Group

October 1999





Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, Inc. (DBAB)

December 1999





International Energy Agency (IEA)

November 1998.

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