PRECIPITOUS DROP IN CIS COUNTRIES’ TRADE WITH RUSSIA.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 91
Figures just released by Russia’s Economics Ministry show that the CIS countries’ aggregate trade with Russia in the first quarter of 1999 amounted to US$4.1 billion, signifying a dramatic decline of 45.3 percent compared to the corresponding period of 1998. The CIS share within Russia’s total foreign trade fell to 20.1 percent in the first quarter of 1999, from 24.7 percent in the corresponding period of 1998.
The CIS countries posted an aggregate deficit of US$0.9 billion, with US$1.6 billion worth of exports to Russia and US$2.5 billion worth of imports from it during the first quarter of 1999. Energy carriers and fuels made up an overwhelming share of 74 percent in the CIS countries’ total imports from Russia. To offset revenue losses from depressed oil prices, Russia increased the volumes delivered to CIS countries overall by 21 percent for crude oil and 70 percent for oil products. The share of industrial equipment and machinery in CIS first-quarter imports from Russia declined to a meager 10.6 percent, approximately half of the corresponding figure for 1998.
CIS countries’ exports to Russia continued to consist of a variegated mix of raw materials, food products and industrial goods, contrasting with the one-sided structure of Russian deliveries to the same countries. This year’s first quarter saw most CIS exports to Russia decline, sharply in many cases, as Russia’s insolvency added to protectionist constraints on its imports from the CIS. At the same time, some CIS countries managed to enlarge their niches on the Russian market for selected food products in short supply there. The five-country CIS Customs Union has remained an irrelevancy to date (Russian agencies, May 10).
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