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Petrol, UDS/





Copper, UDS/





Aluminum, UDS/t.





Nickel, UDS/t.





Source: calculated by the data of London metal exchange, New York mercantile Exchange

In 1999, Russia’s foreign trade turnover made up USD 115.4 bln., or at 13.4% down compared with 1998, with the volume of export of USD 74.3 bln. ( a 0.2% growth) and import totaled USD 41.1 bln.( a 30.5% fall)

In 1999, Russia had a significant positive balance of foreign trade. The exports exceeded import at a. USD 32.2 bln., which was two times higher than in 1998. It should be noted, however, that there were no positive structural shifts in Russia’s foreign trade over last year, and the improvement of the country’s foreign trade balance can be practically completely attributed to the growth in international prices for mineral resources and the sharp contraction in import supplies after the Rb. depreciation.

Source: Rostatagentstvo

In the IV Quarter 1999, Russia’s foreign trade turnover made up USD 34.7 bln., or at 21.2% higher than its respective index of the IVth Quarter 1998, including the growth in exports at 21.8% ( USD 23.3 bln. in toto) and the growth in import at 20.2% ( USD 11.4 bln.)

In 1999, Russia’s foreign trade turnover with far- Abroad states made up USD 93.4 bln. ( down at 10.6% compared to 1998), while the country’s turnover with the CIS countries made up USD 22.0 bln. ( down at 23.8%)

In 1999, the total volume of non- registered export made up USD 2,736 bln., import- USD 10.152 bln. According to the State Customs Committee estimates, of the overall volume the export of goods by private individuals made up USD 1.398 bln., import- 10.074 bln.

The share of fuel and energy resources in the overall volume of exports stood at 44%, or at 2 per cent points higher than in the prior year. The share of ferrous and non- ferrous metals slid from 21% in 1998 to 20%, machinery and equipment- from 11.3% to 10.8%. The export of crude oil made up 134.5 mln.t. (2% down), petroleum derivatives- 50.8 mln. t. ( down at 6%), ore and ferrous concentrates- 10.8 mln. t. ( down at 22%), electric power- 15.3 bln. kWatt/h. ( 23% down), while the export of the Russian machine- building articles fell by 4.2%.

In 1999, Russia supplied to the international markets 205.4 bln. cubic m. Of natural gas worth a total of USD 11.4 bln., or at 1% more than in 1998 ( in quantitative terms), however, at 15.9% down in value terms. In 1999, the average contract price for gas continued its fall: it slid a s much as by 11 USD per cub.m. and reached USD 55.3. Russia supplied to far- Abroad states 131.1 bln. cub.m. of natural gas, or at 4.8% more than in the prior year. At the same time, the volume of the gas export to the near- Abroad countries contracted by 5.2%- to 74.3 bln. cub.m. In 1999, the share of natural gas in the total value of Russia’s exports was accounted for 15.6% vs. 18.6% reported in 1998.

Russia’s economy has found itself strongly dependent upon import food stuffs and related raw materials for their production: the share of food stuffs in import is steadily at the level of 26%.

By results of 1999, the import of food stuffs from Near- Abroad countries slid to USD 6.3 bln. (28% down). The value volume of meat procurements dropped by 45.6% on average ( including poultry- 3.8 times), while grain procurements grew 4 times. Of the total volume of import grain supplies 70% fell on food aid.

Medicines are also an important import article: Russia’s needs in them is accounted for two-thirds. In 1999, the procurements of medicines in Far- Abroad countries fell 1.6 times.

The import- substitution for the said goods has proved to be unrealistic in the short run. The market is saturated through a gradual renewal of the import of a number of food stuffs

and related raw materials ( grain crops, unrefined sugar, vegetable oil), and medicines.

In 1999 the share of machinery and equipment in the overall volume of the Russian import was accounted for 32.1%, or USD 9.9 bln.

In February 2000, the government decided to increase the export duty for oil from 15 to 20 Euro/t., and for diesel fuel – from 10 to 15 Euro/t.. while the export duty for petrol and black oil remained unchanged- Euro 10 and 12/t., respectively. In the period between 1999 through 2000 the situation with the price for the said goods experienced drastic changes. Since the date of introduction of the previous oil export duty rates, the world oil prices grew from USD 177/t. to 199.8/t., while the price for diesel fuel grew from USD 209/t. up to USD 232/t. The RF government should promptly develop a concept of differentiation of export duties for oil and petroleum derivatives depending on the price situation. It is envisaged that within two weeks the government would develop a legislative mechanism of introduction of export duty rates for oil and petroleum derivatives subject to seasonality and the structure of domestic and external prices. Then the government should find a way to develop its decision which would allow the customs authorities to make a decision on changing export duty rates automatically.

New export duty rates for oil and petroleum derivatives may be introduced within a month upon the publication of a government Resolution on that, therefore one can expect an introduction of new rates not earlier than on April 15, 2000.

S. Prikhodko, N. Volovik

1 One should note that the maintenance of a low real ruble exchange rate along with floating nominal exchange rate seems to be the most efficient exchange rate policy for the nearest one – two years, which may ensure Russia's taking the path of sustainable economic growth.

2 According to the data on 1,313 credit institutions of 1,349 that had licenses, as of late- 1999

3 According to reports on profits and losses, practically it is only received and paid off penalties, fines, etc. that can be attributed to irregular revenues ( losses).

4 In our computations we used the data of CBR concerning interest rates of the banks’ loans to enterprises and organizations for the term between 6 months to 1 year. Its is the loans with such an initial term that prevail in the overall number of loans extended by the national banking system. The computations were built proceeding from the assumption that the credit agreement was concluded at a fixed rate in the beginning of the respective month. Nominal rates were re-calculated into profitability rates with the account of re-investing, and they were adjusted by the value of the decline in Rb.’s purchasing power over the term of the agreement. Considering the interest rates by loans extended in foreign exchange, we also took into account the growth in USD exchange rate vs. Rb. over the period of the agreement. To compute an actual profitability rate by loans extended in September, we used estimates of the respective values of inflation and dynamics of the Rb. rate on February – March. To compute the average profitability rate for the three Quarters 1999, the data on the period between August 199 through April 1999 were used, as the term of credit recovery with respect to agreements concluded during that very period was due during the first there Quarters 1999.

5 The fall in the significance of private individuals’ deposits as a source for banks’ resources is notable. In the present sample, Sberbank exclusive, their share in liabilities made up only 6% and became lower than the share of time deposits made by legal entities ( about 10%)

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