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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CB: Exports Top Imports By $46Bln

Russia's exports of goods and services exceeded imports by a record $46.3 million in 2000, nearly double the figure for 1999, but capital flight rose and foreign direct investment fell, according to Central Bank statistics released this week.

Russia's balance of payments for 2000 was "unexpectedly high, higher than projections," said NIKoil analyst Alexei Kazakov.

The reasons for the record performance, however, are almost entirely due to the rise in world prices for natural resources. In 2000, the volume of exports rose just 5 percent, while contract prices rose 50 percent, statistics agency Yunikon/MS calculated, based on data from the State Statistics Committee.

Hard currency earned from exports that was not repatriated rose from $195 million in 1999 to $5.29 billion in 2000.

The unlawful outflow of capital also increased, which economists listed in the line item "net errors and omissions." The sum of outflows increased from $2 billion in 1999 to $9.3 billion last year.

Russia, apparently, is not in a condition to digest its unexpected wealth.

"Our oil, chemical and metals [companies] are not prepared to invest an adequate part of their earnings in Russia," said Yevgeny Gavrilenkov, director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The problem is not just an unfavorable tax regime, many analysts believe there simply are not enough attractive investment projects. "Despite all the efforts of the government to attract foreign investment and improve the investment climate, alas, it has not been a success," Gavrilenkov said.