April 22, 2021

Exports from China’s Xinjiang province to US more than doubled this year despite sanctions

Xinjiang’s American-bound exports amounted to $64.4 million in the first three months of 2021, the South China Morning Post reported, citing data from China’s customs agency. While year-on-year data is not representative as it comes from the pandemic year’s low base, exports also rose compared to pre-crisis levels. They gained 46.5% compared with the first quarter of 2019.

Overall exports from the Chinese region in the first quarter increased by more than a third year-on-year, but were down 6% against the same period of 2019.

Also on rt.com China’s economy sees record growth after Covid-19 pandemic slump

While Xinjiang’s exports are just a fraction of the growing Chinese exports, the news comes as Beijing and Washington have been locking horns over claims of human rights violations and abuses, including forced labor, in the region. This has resulted in a US ban on all imports of Xinjiang-grown cotton and tomatoes, including sauces, seeds, and other products. China has repeatedly denied the accusations and said it would welcome a UN visit to the region.

However, banned cotton products, except for some garments, are not among the increased exports from the region, according to the report. Xinjiang mostly shipped heterocyclic compounds to the US, which are used in cancer drugs, and amino acids.

Also on rt.com China outpaces US as Europe’s largest trade partner in 2020

As tensions between the world’s largest economies rise, the US is considering a ban on the import of all goods from the region unless there is evidence that the product was made without forced labor. Despite the relatively small level of exports from Xinjiang, broader sanctions could affect US consumers, the lead analyst for global trade at the Economist Intelligence Unit, Nick Marro, believes.

“It at least demonstrates that, as tensions mount over Xinjiang, and if trade restrictions multiply, it’ll be a painful process for a lot of US-based customers to meaningfully ‘de-Xinjiangise’ their supply chains,” he told the South China Morning Post.

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Airlines may lose $48 billion this year as ‘pain of the crisis increases,’ IATA warns

The new figures, presented by the global airlines body on Wednesday, are around 25% worse than it had previously expected. It had earlier forecast a $38 billion deficit. 

The airline industry’s losses are expected to amount to around a third of what the troubled sector saw in 2020, when it lost more than $126.4 billion as the spread of the coronavirus forced governments to shut borders.

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“This crisis is longer and deeper than anyone could have expected. Losses will be reduced from 2020, but the pain of the crisis increases,” IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said in a statement. 

He added that travel restrictions imposed by governments still affect the demand for international travel. The agency now expects global traffic in 2021 to amount to 43% of pre-crisis levels. According to the IATA, this marks an improvement compared to last year, but it is still “far from a recovery.” 

Also on rt.com ‘People hungry to be free again’: Personal travel will return from second half of 2021, IATA says

“Industry losses of this scale imply a cash burn of $81 billion in 2021 on top of $149 billion in 2020,” the agency said, adding that government aid has prevented widespread bankruptcies in the industry that is responsible for millions of jobs globally. 

On Monday, the US State Department announced its intention to expand the “Do Not Travel” advisory to about 80% of countries worldwide due to pandemic-related risks. Earlier this month, the UK government signaled that it is unsure whether non-essential international travel can resume on May 17 as was initially planned.

The IATA noted that the lack of progress on the reopening of the aviation sector affects the wider economy, putting a significant portion of the $3.5 trillion in GDP and 88 million jobs supported by aviation at risk.

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Dogecoin plunges after meme-inspired crypto frenzy pushed its market value higher than Twitter

Dogecoin fell more than 20% to trade at around $0.27 on Wednesday, according to data from price tracking website CoinDesk. The slump pushed the coin down to the sixth position among the largest cryptocurrencies by market value, with its market cap currently standing at around $40 billion.

It comes shortly after the market value of the meme-based token surpassed $50 billion. As of Tuesday, its capitalization was more than $53 billion, data from CoinGecko shows, putting it on par with the world’s fourth-biggest car producer, Stellantis, and making it worth more than social media giant Twitter.

Also on rt.com ‘Who let the Doge out?’ Musk’s favorite canine-crypto smashes another record high as celebrities jump on board

Dogecoin’s recent losses seem minor compared to its enormous rally. Over the last seven days, the token surged nearly 250% and more than 400% in one month. Those who poured money into it a year ago enjoyed gains of nearly 16,500%, according to CoinGecko. Year to date, the coin has gained around 7,000%.

The spike in dogecoin recorded earlier this week was fueled by its fans who used the hashtags #DogeDay and #DogeDay420 to post memes, videos, and messages about the coin on social media. Supporters dubbed April 20 ‘Dogeday’, when they hoped to get the coin’s value to $1.

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In another positive sign for dogecoin fans, online electronics retailer Newegg announced on Tuesday that it started accepting the cryptocurrency as a method of payment. Mars, the parent company of Snickers and Milky Way, earlier signaled support for the token on social media.

The dogecoin rally has also been driven by support from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has repeatedly posted memes about the Shiba Inu-themed token and called it his favorite crypto. Last week, he took to Twitter again, posting a picture by Spanish artist Joan Miro and captioning it “Doge Barking at the Moon.”

Some analysts warn that the dogecoin bubble could easily pop. Veteran trader Eddie Ghabour, managing partner at Key Advisors Group, earlier told Yahoo Finance that he considers the token more suitable for speculation, adding that “when this bubble bursts, it will probably cease to exist.”

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Putin outlines national priorities to restart economy & raise living standards as Russia emerges from Covid crisis

According to Putin, the government will continue promoting private investment to support the creation of new jobs. He has instructed the government to develop a program of additional measures to support small and medium-sized businesses. The proposals on “tax incentives, affordable loans, expansion of product sales, including through purchases from large state-owned companies,” should be submitted within a month.

He added that last year’s decision to halve insurance premiums for small and medium-sized enterprises from 30% to 15% is not subject to revision. “To support the creation of new jobs, the government will support and encourage entrepreneurial initiative, stimulate private initiative,” Putin said, adding that the commercial sector’s profits are expected to be at a record high this year, despite all the problems brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

Also on rt.com IMF improves Russia’s economic growth outlook for this year

Keeping inflation in Russia within the established parameters is an “extremely important task,” the president said. “The government and the Central Bank should continue to pursue a responsible financial policy and ensure macroeconomic stability… I proceed from the fact that it will certainly be solved.”

The Russian president added that another major goal for the government is to ensure the growth of real incomes for the population. He urged to focus on “Restoring and guaranteeing its further growth, and achieving tangible changes in the fight against poverty.”

Also on rt.com Putin wants to cut poverty in Russia by half in next decade

Among other things, Putin also talked about the need to remove excessive restrictions in the field of foreign exchange controls for non-resource exporters.

“It is necessary to significantly simplify the conditions for the work of non-resource exporters. We need to remove all excessive restrictions in the field of currency controls for these exporters. This is one of the problems. This procedure should start working from July.” He added that all amendments to the legislation should be adopted as quickly as possible during the spring session.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/521678-russian-economy-putin-address/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia’s 2021 St. Petersburg Economic Forum to address new economic reality world faces after Covid-19

According to the forum’s official website, the key topic will be “A collective reckoning of the new global economic reality.” More than a hundred events are planned to be held within the forum’s business program.

Business sessions will be broadcast on the forum’s platforms, so that participants from countries where travelling is limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic can have access to the discussions.

Traditional intercountry business dialogues will be held as part of the economic forum with representatives of the business communities of Italy, Germany, France, US, India, Africa, Finland, Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as the EAEU-ASEAN business dialogue.

The business program will include sessions on economic recovery and international cooperation, including discussions on Eurasian integration, transformation of global trade, effectiveness of business during the pandemic, the global energy market, recovery of the food market, and the sustainability of national healthcare systems.

“Last year brought to the fore the need to join efforts to address national and global challenges. The new economic reality means the economy of cooperation and partnership aimed at maintaining the goals of sustainable development. After a long break, SPIEF will become one of the first international business events held offline and, undoubtedly, a platform for building a dialogue that will help implement new partnership projects,” said Andrey Belousov, first deputy prime minister and chairman of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Organizing Committee.

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Russia’s national development goals are also among the topics to be discussed at the forum. Sessions will cover the transition from the anti-crisis agenda to strengthening the long-term potential of the country’s economy, the investment climate in Russian regions, shaping of the Russian research and technology space, development of the financial market, creation of circular economy, and the functioning of strategically important industries.

“This year the SPIEF program will be particularly eventful and relevant. The new economic reality is the agenda that includes all key issues of social and state development. Global challenges that we have faced during the pandemic establish new rules. There is a long period of recovery ahead of us; our actions and the effectiveness of planning and management will determine how quickly we can overcome the negative consequences of the pandemic and move to sustainable economic growth,” said the Russian president’s adviser and executive secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee, Anton Kobyakov.

“SPIEF will again bring together representatives of the Russian and international business community, government authorities and public organizations to search for opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership,” he added.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/521661-russia-economic-forum-2021/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russian economy returns to growth after pandemic-fueled downturn

The GDP rate went into positive territory last month after the year-on-year decline seen in January and February, when the Russian economy shrank 2.2% and 2.5% respectively, according to the official report published on Tuesday evening. The economy was still down in quarterly terms, but the decline in GDP slowed to 1.3% compared to a year ago.

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The performance of the Russian economy in the first three months of 2021 has improved compared to the end of last year. According to statistics agency Rosstat, GDP was down 1.8% in the last quarter of 2020 and decreased 3% for the whole pandemic year.

The economic rebound was supported by continued recovery in manufacturing, freight turnover, as well as the construction sector. Machine-building and chemical industries have become the main drivers of growth, the ministry noted.

READ MORE: Russian stock market shrugs off new US sanctions risks

Earlier this year, both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank raised their outlook for the Russian economy for 2021. The former positively revised its forecast for the second time, now expecting Russia’s GDP to expand 3.8%. The World Bank now forecasts the Russian economy to grow by 2.9% this year.

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Russia on course to keep global grain supplies high despite export cap

In monetary terms, wheat supplies abroad more than doubled to $1.884 billion. Exports of vegetable oil rose by 3.1% in annual terms and amounted to 589.2 thousand tons. They were worth more than $630 million.

Statistics also show that export of cereals by Russia in 2019 amounted to 39.4 million tons (including 31.9 million tons of wheat and meslin). Grain shipments in the 2019-2020 agricultural year (from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) stood at 41.7 million tons. The country also supplied 33.2 million tons of wheat to the global market. The Ministry of Agriculture projects that in the 2020-2021 agricultural year grain exports will amount to 45 million tons.

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Last April, Russia capped grain shipments until July, to avoid domestic price spikes amid the global coronavirus crisis. Moscow introduced export limits for certain grains, including wheat, rye, barley, and corn, capping supplies at seven million tons.

Booming agricultural production in recent years has enabled Russia to capture more than half of the global wheat market, becoming the world’s biggest exporter of grain, thanks to bumper harvests and attractive pricing. Since the early 2000s, this share of the global wheat market has quadrupled.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/521592-russia-wheat-exports-growth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russia’s answer to US sanctions is to make its economy more self-sufficient – analysts

“The Americans are saying: be careful or we could do more, but Russia is just going to continue down the path toward economic autarky,” the deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington, Elina Ribakova, told Bloomberg.

The administration of US President Joe Biden on Sunday warned of “consequences” if opposition activist Alexey Navalny were to die in prison. The warning followed the introduction by Washington of new economic penalties over claims of Russian hacking and election interference. The measures include a ban on purchases of bonds on Russia’s primary market.

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However, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday that the fundamentals of the Russian economy were unaffected by the move. “Macroeconomic stability is fully ensured,” Peskov said, “and the efficiency of our economic bloc is recognized internationally. We have no reason to doubt this state of affairs.”

International rating agencies confirm that Russia is well positioned for a near-term market disruption because it has a high cash buffer and demand from local banks is robust, according to Fitch. Moody’s said on Monday that Russia’s financial reserves will allow the country to cope with the negative effects of the sanctions. Ratings agency SP also noted that the sanctions will not have a significant impact on the replenishment of the Russian budget and will not undermine the stability of the country’s financial markets.

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Experts point out that during the seven years of Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, the Russian government and central bank reduced the country’s exposure to dollars, shifted assets out of the US, and sold a smaller share of its debt to foreigners.

Russia has been reshaping its international holdings, cutting the share of the US dollar in favor of other currencies and gold. The country’s foreign reserve holdings have been steadily growing in recent years, and amounted to $580.5 billion as of April 9. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the reserves surged by over $40 billion last year.

The share of gold in Russia’s forex reserves jumped above dollars for the first time on record in 2020. The precious metal made up 24% of the central bank’s stockpile as of the end of September. The share of dollar assets was 22%, down from more than 40% in 2018.

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The share of Russia’s international reserves held in the United States plummeted to just under 7% by the end of September, down from about 30% in 2014.

As part of President Putin’s plan to de-dollarize trade, Russia has also been cutting back on the use of the greenback in its exports with the EU, China, and India. The euro has almost overtaken the dollar in Russia’s trade with the EU, and has already surpassed it in exports to China. About two-thirds of Russia’s exports to India are currently paid for in rubles.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/521547-us-sanctions-russia-response/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Global crude prices rise on falling inventories & weakening US dollar

Expectations for a fall in crude inventories in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer, also boosted global oil prices, though rising coronavirus cases in Asia capped gains.

Brent crude futures for June delivery rose by more than 1%, hitting a session high of over $68 a barrel at 09:15 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery, which expire on Tuesday, were also up over 1%, trading above $64 per barrel. 

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“US dollar weakness continues to offer support to the commodities complex… despite concerns over oil demand in certain regions,” ING Economics said in a note seen by Reuters.

On Monday, the dollar index dropped to a six-week low against a basket of major currencies after a plunge in US Treasury yields last week, and remained near the low of 91.055 on Tuesday.

According to a preliminary Reuters poll, US crude oil and distillate stockpiles are projected to have decreased last week, while gasoline inventories likely grew, thus, weighing in on the price rise.

Also on rt.com Russia remains world’s second-largest oil producer for 10 months in a row – report

Earlier this week, Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) declared force majeure on shipments from the port of Hariga. The news sees Libyan oil output slump below 1 million barrels per day for the first time since October. The company said it could extend the measure to other facilities due to a budget dispute with the country’s central bank.

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil sales reportedly dropped to their lowest in eight months, as the world’s biggest oil exporter is committed to a production cap to boost oil prices.

At the same time, surging coronavirus cases in India, the world’s third-biggest importer and consumer of crude, dimmed enthusiasm for a sustained recovery in global fuel demand, capping further gains.

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Russia remains world’s second-largest oil producer for 10 months in a row – report

Data shows that the United States was the top oil-producing country in the world and Saudi Arabia was in third place. Russia held the status of the world’s second-largest oil producer for the 10th month in a row, dropping to the third spot for only one month, in April 2020. Prior to that, Russia had been in the second spot for over a year.

According to the JODI, in February, Russia’s oil production decreased by 0.7% compared to January, while the US slashed production by 6.5% on a monthly basis to 10.364 million bpd, and Saudi Arabia by 10.5% to 8.147 million bpd.

Statistics also showed that, in January, Russia exported 3.702 million bpd, which was down from the 4.2 million it exported in December.

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Oil refining in Russia in February increased by 5.3% from the previous month, amounting to 5.772 million bpd, said the report. Meanwhile in the US, refining plunged by 13.3% from January to 12.67 million bpd, and in Saudi Arabia the capacity dropped by 2.6% to 2.281 million bpd.

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