Russia Letter – Moscow – week beginning May 23
- ASEAN Summit
The most important event of last week in Russia was the summit with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was held in the Russian city of Sochi.
Leaders of the ASEAN and Russia issued a declaration called “Moving Towards a Strategic Partnership for Mutual Benefit,” with the aim of strengthening economic ties between member countries.
One of the most interesting details of the declaration was Russia’s offer to launch a joint feasibility study for a comprehensive free trade area between Russia and ASEAN.
Due to its activities in east Ukraine, Russia’s relations with its major trading partner Europe have deteriorated in recent years. Therefore, if this proposal is accepted and is put in motion, Russia’s strategy to find new trading partners in Asia will likely become fruitful.
- Negative data on economy continues
While there are some positive signals towards the Russian economy’s recovery from its crisis status, negative data still continues.
According to the data released by Rosstat, the country’s statistical agency, the capital outflow from Russia in January-April 2016, amounted to $12.8 billion. Additionally, the retail trade volume during the same period dropped by 5.2 to 8.7 billion rubles, compared to the same period last year.
- Gazprom and Turkey
Since last November, Turkish-Russian relations have become a major topic of discussion worldwide. Hence, natural gas trade between these two countries has also been closely followed.
According to the country’s gas monopoly, Gazprom, its natural gas exports to Turkey decreased by 18 percent to 6.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
Turkey became the second natural gas importer with 6.4 bcm from Russia following Germany, which imported 12 bcm in the first three months of 2016.
From the beginning of 2016, Turkish private natural gas importing companies made several statements about their decreased volumes of natural gas imports from Gazprom. The company exported 27 bcm of natural gas to Turkey last year.