22 Dec 2009 17:45


MOSCOW. Dec 22 (Interfax) - Russia's trade surplus in November 2009 increased to $11.6 billion from $8.5 billion in the same period of 2008, the Ministry of Economic Development said in a report on results of socio-economic development in January-November.

In January-November 2009, the overall foreign trade balance came to $99.5 billion, down from $175.1 billion in the same period of 2008. Foreign trade in January-November 2009 came to $440.9 billion, down 38% year-on-year, the ministry said.

Export of goods in November came to 31.6 billion rubles, up 4.1% from the same period of 2008 and 3.9% from October of this year. In January-November of this year, export of goods came to 270.2 billion, down 39% year-on-year.

Prices for oil in November remained around the same level as in the second half of October, holding at $75-$77 per barrel (the highest posting since autumn 2008.)

"The increasing trend for oil prices over the recent months was the result of the improving opportunities for the development of the world economy and a corresponding expectation that demand for energy will increase (OPEC forecasts that demand for oil in 2010 will increase by 700,000 million barrels a day). In addition, with loss-bearing liquidity on world markets and the weakening of the dollar, commodity assets will remain attractive for investment," the ministry said.

The price for Urals brand oil in November 2009 came to $76.1 per barrel, up 50% year-on-year and 5% against this past October. Overall, Urals brand came to $59.9 per barrel in January-November, which is 41% below its average price in the same period of 2008.

Average contract prices for Russian natural gas at the Germany border, according to the International Monetary Fund, dropped in January-November 2009 by 29.5% year-on-year. In November, the price of natural gas continued at $232.2 per 1,000 cubic meters from October.

According to the London Metal Exchange, prices for copper increase in November by 6.2% in comparison with October, aluminum - 3.8% while nickel prices dropped by 8.3%.

Average world prices in January-November 2009 were substantially lower than in 2008 as copper decreased in price by 31.8%, aluminum - 39.4% and nickel - 34.8%.

According to the ministry, in November, exports of oil increased by 4.7% in comparison with October while natural gas exports went up by 22.3%. Exports of coal decreased by 12.9%. In January-November 2009, exports of oil went up by 2% year-on-year while coal exports increased by 6%. Exports of natural gas decreased by 19.2%.

Import of goods, according to the ministry's estimate, came to $19.95 billion in November, down 8.7% year-on-year but up 3.8% from October of 2009. In January-November 2009, import of goods came to $170.7 billion, down 34.3% year-on-year.

"The drop in domestic demand for foreign goods, which is the result of the situation in the Russian economy under the conditions of the world financial and economic crisis, has caused a decrease in import of goods," the report said.

According to the early statistics of the Federal Customs Service, imports from non-CIS countries in January-November 2009 dropped by 33.4% year-on-year. In November 2009, imports decreased by 15.2% in comparison with the same period of last year. Purchases of machinery from non-CIS countries decreased by 25.9%, as did textile goods and footwear, down 8.8%. Imports of foodstuffs decreased by 4% while foreign supply of chemical products went up by 10.3%.

In comparison with October 2009, the total value of goods imported in November from non-CIS countries practically went unchanged. Imports of machinery and chemical production also remained at the same level of the previous month whereas imports of foodstuffs and materials for their production increased by 4.5%. Textile goods and footwear decreased in import by 19.7%.