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Russia
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Economy

Economy - overview: Nine years after the collapse of the USSR, Russia is still struggling to establish a modern market economy and achieve strong economic growth. Russian GDP has contracted an estimated 45% since 1991, despite the country's wealth of natural resources, its well-educated population, and its diverse - although increasingly dilapidated - industrial base. By the end of 1997, Russia had achieved some progress. Inflation had been brought under control, the ruble was stabilized, and an ambitious privatization program had transferred thousands of enterprises to private ownership. Some important market-oriented laws had also been passed, including a commercial code governing business relations and the establishment of an arbitration court for resolving economic disputes. But in 1998, the Asian financial crisis swept through the country, contributing to a sharp decline in Russia's earnings from oil exports and resulting in an exodus of foreign investors. Matters came to a head in August 1998 when the government allowed the ruble to fall precipitously and stopped payment on $40 billion in ruble bonds. In 1999, output increased for only the second time since 1991, by an officially estimated 3.2%, regaining much of the 4.6% drop of 1998. This increase was achieved despite a year of potential turmoil that included the tenure of three premiers and culminated in the New Year's Eve resignation of President YELTSIN. Of great help was the tripling of international oil prices in the second half of 1999, raising the export surplus to $29 billion. On the negative side, inflation rose to an average 86% in 1999, compared with a 28% average in 1998 and a hoped-for 30% average in 2000. Ordinary persons found their wages falling by roughly 30% and their pensions by 45%. The PUTIN government has given high priority to supplementing low incomes by paying down wage and pension arrears. Many investors, both domestic and international remain on the sidelines, scared off by Russia's long-standing problems with capital flight, reliance on barter transactions, widespread corruption among officials, and endemic organized crime.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $620.3 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.2% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $4,200 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8.4%
industry: 38.5%
services: 53.1% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: 40% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 22.2% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 86% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 66 million (1997)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 15%, industry 30%, services 55% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 12.4% (1999 est.), plus considerable underemployment

Budget:
revenues: $24.08 billion
expenditures: $26.82 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

Industries: complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: 8.1% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 771.947 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 67.77%
hydro: 19.49%
nuclear: 12.74%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 702.711 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 21 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 5.8 billion kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk

Exports: $75.4 billion (1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, wood and wood products, metals, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures

Exports - partners: Ukraine, Germany, US, Belarus, Netherlands, China

Imports: $48.2 billion (1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, consumer goods, medicines, meat, grain, sugar, semifinished metal products

Imports - partners: Germany, Belarus, Ukraine, US, Kazakhstan, Italy

Debt - external: $166 billion (yearend 1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $8.523 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 ruble (R) = 100 kopeks

Exchange rates: rubles per US$1 - 26.7996 (December 1999), 24.6199 (1999), 9.7051 (1998), 5,785 (1997), 5,121 (1996), 4,559 (1995)
note: the post-1 January 1998 ruble is equal to 1,000 of the pre-1 January 1998 rubles

Fiscal year: calendar year



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