Although less volume is imported, on average Russians spend the same amount on imported products. The import substitution doesn't seem to be taking off yet. Nearly half of all Russians are pessimistic about the country's economic prospects. The mood in Russia has thus worsened. The European Commission and Russia discussed addressing smuggling between the countries, with Russia proposing to exchange information. Putin wants to get rid of the dollar in trade, the plan isn't new, but is to help along the Russian economy. Armenia exported more, just like Moldova, which has been allowed to export to Russia for a few months now.
Russia doesn't spend less on import
Russian research sheds new light on the import substitution the Kremlin is focusing on and which partly forms the basis for the boycott, but it seems to have trouble taking off. The study divides the import by commodity and value. Import substitution of value means less is spent on import, and more on domestic production. For commodity, this means the import isn't replaced if less is imported, while the market is also shrinking.
According to statistics, the import went down by 27 percent between January and August, and consumption in those months went down by ten percent. In the wake of the rising food prices, researchers saw that the imported products were replaced by domestic produce.
The import share in retail also decreased significantly, but in terms of value the import in August surpassed the import value of a year earlier. This suggests that households spend the same amount on imported products, but they are buying lower numbers. So in a way, the conclusion can be reached that the import substitution isn't working.
Russians pessimistic about future
Nearly half of all Russians (48%) believe the most difficult economic time hasn't been reached yet. This percentage is 8% higher than in June, and 17% higher than in May of this year. These are the results of a survey held in September, published by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM). The number of respondents who believe that the economically difficult times are already behind them, went down between May and September, from 33% to 19%. At the same time, the percentage of people who think Russia is going through them right now, went down from 28% in May to 23% in September.
Russia and EC discuss smuggling
Russia and the European Commission recently discussed the smuggling of fruit and vegetables. It was the first time that all involved commissioners and Russia discussed this. On the agenda were cooperation and transparency in the trade of animal and plant products. Russia reportedly suggested setting up an information system connecting the customs organizations of both parties. The system is to improve clearance of agricultural products at the border with Russia, and counteract smuggling.
Putin wants less trade in dollars
The Russian president wants the rouble to be used more often in trade, particularly when it comes to oil. That way, Putin wants to break free from the dependence on the American currency. The idea isn't new, and has been suggested before in the past. Trade in roubles would be better for the Russian economy and the currency's value, both of which can use a bit of support.
Apple cultivation in former Soviet Union up
The apple production in CIS countries (former Soviet republics) has increased in recent years, Fruit-Inform reports. Russia is still number one, and is also the fastest grower, according to official statistics. In the past five years, production is said to have increased by 45 percent. For other countries, the growth figures turned out lower: Ukraine +25%, Uzbekistan +35%, and the smallest grower Azerbaijan +15%. This year, the countries together are expected to harvest 5.5 million tonnes of apples, an increase of 60 percent over five years.
Armenian production and export on the rise
The Armenian fruit and vegetable sector has seen significant growth this year, both in production and in export, figures from the Ministry of Agriculture show. The export amounted to 4600 tonnes of tomatoes and cucumbers. A year before, the export was still 370 tonnes. In addition, 9400 tonnes of cabbage have reportedly been exported between January and October, 2015. The total volume amounted to 64,800, last year it was 38,550 tonnes, a 34 percent increase.
The export to Russia doubled, partly thanks to the boycott. Russia bought 61,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables, compared to 36,000 tonnes a year earlier. Russia is by far the biggest market for Armenian products. The country also export a lot to Georgia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
The good harvest also improved export opportunities, because more volume was available. According to statistics, agriculture is the fastest growing sector within the Armenian economy. Between January and September, agriculture is said to have increased by eleven percent already.
Azerbaijan considers membership EEU
Azerbaijan's secretary of state for Economy and Industry told Russian journalists that the country doesn't outright deny a membership of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, the country will consider what the advantages and disadvantages of a membership of an economic union are. The EEU is the Eastern European counterpart of the EU, and was established early this year. Current members are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Russia supports growers Transnistria
Representatives of the Russian government promised the government of microstate Transnistria to import large volumes of vegetables and tinned fruit. Transnistria is the eastern part of Moldova that has declared independence, but only a handful of countries recognize the tiny country. Russian traders seek close cooperation with the country, and are investing in the seceded state.
Moldovan export risen
A few months ago, Russia opened its borders for a number of companies from the Moldovan province of Gagauzia. That put a gradual end to the boycott of the Eastern European country. Russia closed its borders when Moldova sought more rapprochement to the EU, which dealt a heavy blow to Moldova's economy. With the borders having been opened again to a number of companies, the export has risen as a result. The provincial government says the export value amounted to 24 million dollars, a 75.8 percent increase between January and June (although trade was halted at first due to the boycott).
Russian import stagnates
In the first nine months of this year, Russia imported 38.2 percent less from non-CIS countries. The import of fruit and vegetables went down by 24.4 percent and 32.8 percent respectively.