World Economy

Russia Trade Surplus Down by $49b

Russia Trade Surplus Down by $49bRussia Trade Surplus Down by $49b

Russia’s foreign trade surplus decreased by 33% ($48.9 billion) in 2015 to $161.4 billion, according to documents published by the Federal Customs Service.

Russia’s exports dropped by 31.1% to $345.9 billion in 2015 compared with 2014 while imports went down by 36.7% to $184.5 billion in the same period, Tass reported.

In 2015, Russia’s external turnover totaled $530.4 billion, a 33.2% decrease compared with 2014.

The European Union is still Russia’s leading economic partner as it accounted for 44.8% of Russia’s trade turnover (48.1% in 2014) while the Commonwealth of Independent States for 12.5% (12.3%), the Eurasian Economic Union member-states for 7.8% (7.1%) and the APEC member-states for 28.1% (26.9%).

 Recession to Continue

Recession in the economy will continue, the Bank of Russia said. “Industrial production statistics for December 2015 shows that production decline continues on the whole across main kinds of economic activity.

This evidences concerns that the decline in the Russian economy will last longer than assumed earlier. The primary reason is the decline in oil prices in the coming months,” the regulator said.

“Macrostatistic data received in December confirms the assumption we made in January regarding higher probability of continued recession in the first half of 2016,” the Bank of Russia said.

According to the central bank, Russia’s budget deficit amid $35 per barrel oil price will grow to 4.8% of GDP.

“Implementation of base case forecasted scenario (implying average oil price in 2016 at $35 per barrel) results in lost federal budget revenues versus 1.45 trillion rubles ($18.9 billion) outlined by the legislation and raises deficit from 3% to 4.8% of GDP,” the report said.

Also, targeting deficit of 3% of GDP without raising debt burden necessitates a respective spending reduction by almost 9% of 16.1 trillion rubles outlined by the legislation, the report said.

Earlier the finance ministry had repeatedly said Russia’s budget deficit will not exceed 3% in 2016. The current budget for 2016 implies $50 per barrel oil price.

According to the Bank of Russia, negative economic trends “should serve as a base for refusal to additionally increase retirement payments using existing reserves.”

 Majority Pessimistic

More than half of Russians have a negative outlook for the economic situation, the highest amount since the country’s financial crisis began, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday, citing a recent poll.

According to the results of the poll carried out by the Obshchestvennoye Mnenie (Public Opinion) Foundation, 54% of Russians now believe that the country’s economy is in a bad state.

Another 41% of respondents said the economic situation is satisfactory and only 3% of the participants said the economy is in a good state.