The insignificant fluctuations of the Rubleexchange rate of 1996 did not influence the situation with the export-importtransactions.
In 1996, the reduction of share of theoutside FSU countries in the total volume of the Russian foreign trade wascharacteristic; it reduced to 76.8% against the 77.3% of the 1995. This may beexplained by not only the reinforcement of the links with the CIS, but, also,by the fact that a certain share of the goods turnover between Russian and theoutside CIS countries transported in transit by the territories of the CIS wasregistered as the goods exchange between the CIS countries. E.g., according tothe expert estimates based on the comparative statistics of the partnercountries, Ukraine transported by transit the German production goods costingabout DM 0.2 bn; the Ukrainian customs registered these goods as the Ukrainianexport. It is also known that the main share of the imported automobiles comesto Russia by the so-called “Byelorussian corridor”.
In 1996, the volume of the Russian exportwas US$ 88.3 bn, which is by 9% higher than in 1995. The export outside FSU wasUS$ 71.4 bn. Besides receiving the hard currency, the export, in the situationof reduced domestic demand, ensures the operation of Russian enterprises, and,hence, favors the preservation of jobs. Besides, the growth of the non-paymentsfavors the redirection of supplies of many products to the foreign market. Theshare of export in production of practically all the competitive goods isgrowing (see Table 2.35).
The fuel and feedstock resources prevail, asbefore, in the export structure. Their share in the Russian export structureexceeds 70%, as in 1995. Such structure reflects the growing dependence of thefeedstock sectors of industry upon the world market prices and brings elementsof instability to the development of the Russian export based on the feedstockexport: the share of the feedstock in the world trade has the trend toreduction, while the world prices undergo significant fluctuations.
The aggregate volume of export of the mainfuel and power resources tooutside the CIS was US$ 32.6 bn in 1996, which is by 28% more than in 1995.This growth was due rather to the growth of the contractual prices than thegrowth of the physical volumes of export.
Source: Russian Goscomstat
In 1996, compared with 1995, the growth ofthe physical volumes and average export prices for the outside FSU countriesmade 9% and 21% for crude oil, 26% and 25% for petroleum products, and 5% and11.6% for natural gas, respectively. The respective average shares of thesegoods in the total volume of the export outside FSU reached 18.2%, 9.8%, and15% against 16.1%, 7%, and 14.8% in 1995.
In 1995, the Russian metallurgy increased the production due,mostly, to the export growth; its share in the ferrous metallurgy reached 60%of the production volume; for the non-ferrous metallurgy the relevant figurewas 70%. In 1996, the unfavorable situation formed in the world markets for thenon-ferrous metals export; the export cost was due to the growth of the volumeat reducing prices.
In 1996, the physical volumes of export grewfor the ferrous metals (by 10%), copper (by 12%), nickel (by 9%), and aluminum(by 16%). The share of the ferrous and non-ferrous metals in the total exportoutside the FSU was 18% against the 17% for the relevant period of1995.
The non-ferrous metals export was, asbefore, of the feedstock character. The specific shares of the higherproduction readiness goods in the export of aluminum, copper, nickel, zinc,lead, and tin did not exceed 10% for any one of these metals.
The processing of the imported and domesticfeedstock under the scheme of the exterior and interior tolling played animportant role in safekeeping of the industrial potential and work places. In1996, the shares of the metals supplied under the exterior and interior tollingin the total volumes of export were 79.3% for the primary aluminum, 83.8% forthe zinc, 71.4% for the lead, and 64.3% for the tin.
Due to the limited domestic demand for theproducts of chemistry and petrochemistry, the export was of significance in 1996. The cost volume of theexport of the chemical products was about US$ 5.5 bn; this amounted to 6.3% inthe aggregate Russian export. However, due to the reduction of the world pricesfor certain products, the situation with the chemical export worsened. Thevolume of sales in the foreign markets reduced by about 7%, compared with 1995.Over 40% of the chemical products export come from the mineral fertilizers andorganic products (methanol).
For all the kinds of the chemistry andpetrochemistry products, the wholesale prices of producers approached orexceeded the foreign market prices.
The share of the competitive products of thewood industry complex soldin the foreign markets amounts to 50% of the aggregate production. However, in1996, the cost of export of the forestry, wood working, and cellulose-paperindustries reduced to US$ 3.3 bn against the US$ 4.3 bn in 1995; this was dueto both the reduction of the physical volumes and the reduction of the exportprices. Because of the foreign market conjuncture change, the sale volume ofthe round timber reduced by about 15%.
The share of the machinery and equipment remainstraditionally low in the aggregate export. In 1996, it decreased to 9.4%against the 10.1% of 1995. The cost of this export increased, compared with1995, by 1%, including by 5% for outside the FSU.
Certain enterprises support their productionvolumes only due to the export growth. The specific shares of the exportsupplies in the production volume reached 92% for the Voronezh Factory forheavy presses, about 45% for the “Leningrad Metallurgical Turbines Works”, and50% for the “Vologda Bearings Factory”.
Source: Russian Goscomstat
The analysis of the relationships betweenthe prices for the main products and the relevant prices of the world marketsshows that the today’seconomic conditions for sale in the exterior market are much worse than for thedomestic one. E.g., in 1996, the respective prices for the domestic and foreignmarkets were as follows: US$ 9,588 and US$ 5,100 for the T‑30 tractor, US$ 7,488 and US$ 3,500for the T25A tractor (AO “Vladimir Tractors Factory”); US$ 8,370 and US$ 4,400for the VAZ‑2109automobile (AO AvtoVAZ); and US$ 9,059 and US$ 6,627 for the universal screwcutting lathe (AO ”Krasny Proletariy”).
The domestic market saturation with goods,the crisis in the payments sphere, the low investing activity, the loweredeffective demand inside Russia, and the import control measures had asuppressing effect on the growth of import. In 1996, the import cost wasUS$ 59.8 bn (reduction by 2%, compared with 1995), including US$ 42.3 bn fromoutside the FSU (decrease by 4%, compared with 1995).
The food, and machinery and equipment remainthe main commodity groups in the import.
For the Russian importers, the marketsituation with a rank of the important products purchased from outside the FSUis quite favorable; this is confirmed by the serious enough decrease of thepurchase prices. E.g., in November and December 1996, compared with 1995, theimport prices lowered by 22.1% for the poultry, by 9% for the fresh frozenmeat, by 18.3% for the citruses, by 62% for the coffee, and by 34% for thecaoutchouc.
The share of the machinery and equipment inthe aggregate import reduced from 31.8% against the 33.7% of 1995, includingthe 37% against 39%, respectively, for the outside the FSU. In 1996, the costof the mechanical engineering products import was by 8% lower than in 1995;this was due, first of all, to the reduction of the relevant import fromoutside the FSU (by 9%), resulting from the drop of the investing activities inRussia.
The excess of the domestic prices over theforeign suppliers’ onesin 1996 resulted in the 40% growth of the ferrous metals products import fromoutside the FSU.
The import of the steel pipes remained atthe 1995 level (360,000 mt from outside the FSU).
For numerous commodities, the share ofimport in the aggregate volume of their sale grew, because the imported goodsare more profitable. As of today, average prices for the imported goods are by7% to 34% lower than the average prices of the domestic producers andmanufacturers for the rolled ferrous metals, steel pipes, polyethylene,passenger cars tires, beef, butter, sunflower oil, and sugar.
The import of the food and non-food consumergoods predetermines the high saturation of the domestic market with them, onthe background of the production decrease in the AIC, light, and textileindustries.
Structure of retail turnover
incl. from CIS
Source: Russian Goscomstat
At the stable domestic consumer demand (thereal disposable incomes of the population formed in 1995), reduction of thedomestic production and import of the consumer goods by the officiallyregistered channels, the import by the unorganized (shuttle) channels grew.According to the Bank of Russia, in 1996, the cost of such products was aboutUS$ 14.3 bn or 24% of the aggregate import volume. Such goods accountedfor 26% for the outside the FSU countries, and 19% for the CIS countries.However, in the second half of 1996, the volume of the unregistered importdecreased by 13%, compared with the first half. This was due to the seasonalfactors in the trade in long lasting goods and animal products with the CIScountries and the reduction of the number of the unorganized resident“shuttles”, having left the market due to the reduction of the norms of theduty-free transport of goods over border by natural persons.
The excess of the export growth over theimport growth conditioned the significant increase of the positive foreigntrade balance: in 1996, it grew, compared with 1995, by 41% and reachedUS$ 28.5 bn.
In 1996, the trade and economic linksbetween Russia and the USA saw a certain dynamism in their evolution. As for1996, the estimated increase of the commodities turnover between Russia and theUSA was 5% to 7%; the specific share in the aggregate commodities turnover ofRussia was 5.9%.
Among the Western Europe countries, theleader in the trade with Russia is Germany with the 8.9% of the aggregateforeign trade turnover. The relevant figures are 3.9% for Italy, 3.4% for theUK, and 3.3% for the Netherlands. For the Central and Eastern countries,Poland should be noted, whose 1996 commodities turnover with Russia amounted toUS$ 4.2 to 4.5 bn, which makes it one of the largest trade partners of Russia.China is also an important trade partner with its 4.4% of the foreign tradeturnover of Russia.
The reduction, during the last two years, ofthe demand for both the investment and consumer goods is one of the mainfactors on which the dynamism of the evolution of the foreign economy linkswith the outside the FSU countries is based. Under such conditions, numerousenterprises and even branches of industry almost came to bankruptcy: theactivation of the foreign exchange was an important mean of survival forthem.
Appendix I. Payment Balance ofRussia
Payment balance of Russia for nine monthsof 1996 (US$ mn)
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