Source Pravda.Ru

Economic Development Ministry announces export and import forecasts for 2003

The volume of export of goods from Russia will reach $103.1bn-111.6bn,depending on the scenario of economic development (pessimistic oroptimistic), compared to $104.9bn in 2002 (an estimated amount). The volumeof export will increase to $111.3bn or to $126.7bn by 2005 in accordancewith the pessimistic and optimistic scenarios respectively, a report by theEconomic Development and Trade Ministry, prepared for today's governmentmeeting, reads. The volume of import of goods to Russia is expected to reach $61bn-$63bn in2003 compared to $58.5bn in 2002 (an estimate by the Economic DevelopmentMinistry). The ministry forecasts that in accordance with the firstscenario, the volume of import will be gradually increasing from $53.8bn in2001 to $71bn in 2005; in accordance with the second scenario, the volumeof import will be growing faster and will amount to $77.9bn in 2005. It is pointed out in the report that foreign demand remains the mostimportant part of the final demand. A gradual increase in the value ofRussian exports will continue in 2003-2005. At the same time, an intensivegrowth in imports will go on, which will continue to cover the growing gapbetween the domestic demand and supply of locally produced goods. Theretaining of a strong balance of payments, a rise in individual incomes anda growth in the real exchange rate of the ruble will also facilitate anincrease in the volume of imports. However, the rate of growth in importswill be getting slower compared to that of 2000-2001. The boosting effect of the strengthening of the ruble on imports has becomeweaker in the first six months of 2002 due to changes in the exchange ratesfor major foreign currencies. Since a substantial part of imports fromnon-CIS countries comes from the EU, any weakening of the dollar againstthe euro automatically makes imports to Russia more expensive. If thistrend continues in 2003, the actual volume of imports can be lower than theestimated level. .