There is money, but there is nothing to buy. Why does the country have a record balance of payments now

There is money, but there is nothing to buy. Why does the country have a record balance of payments now
There is money, but there is nothing to buy. Why does the country have a record balance of payments now
11 August, 17:06Photo: Соцсети
Russian exporters still earn a lot, but importers now spend very little

An interesting discussion unfolded in the expert community around the data of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation on the balance of payments - for January-July 2022. The current account surplus (the balance of Russia's foreign trade and financial transactions) reached $166.6 billion in seven months, and trade in goods and services - $192.4 billion. That is, 3.3 and 2.5 times more than in 2021, respectively.

Based on the same estimates, in July 2022, the current account surplus in the Russian Federation amounted to $28.1 billion, and foreign trade — $33.9 billion, continuing to set new records, and already unexpected ones.

That is, Russian exporters earn a lot, while importers spend very little.

“But the numbers are somehow prohibitive”, - writes economist Dmitry Prokofiyev and tries to find out the reasons for this:

The situation has three explanations

First. The official position of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation: “The dynamics of the current account of the balance of payments was determined by the expansion of the positive balance of the total balance of goods and services as a result of a significant increase in the value of exports of goods and a decrease in the value of goods imports.” Translated into Russian - exports have risen in price, and imports have fallen in price - that's the money.

Second . It was expressed by the channel " Solid figures " - export earnings have increased - this is true, but imports have not risen in price - they simply do not exist. Rather, there is official information only for China - imports from there increased by 22%, but there is no information for other countries, otherwise, do not hesitate, they would have written about it.

Third . Voiced by MMI channel analysts. - something is wrong with the numbers. “Given that gas exports to Europe have practically ceased; oil exports are at least not growing; exports of other goods are declining (metallurgists, sawmills, gold); prices on world commodity markets are being corrected downwards; imports show slight signs of recovery (primarily in terms of consumer goods), it is completely unclear where such a high surplus could come from.

Perhaps, writes MMI, the fact is that “the Central Bank revised the data for the six months. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain these figures. Yes, and the USD with such a surplus should have been below 50, and not above 60.”

What do we think. The reason is the reduction of imports

The fact is that the authorities of the Russian Federation imagine the economy as a "pool with four pipes" - resources flow out through one "pipe", money flows in through another "pipe", money flows back through the third "pipe" - to where the fourth "pipe" - goods flow in. The art of managing such an economy, according to the authorities, is to ensure that the level of money in this pool is at the maximum possible every moment of time. You can regulate this level by increasing the volume of "outflow of resources" and reducing the level of "inflow of goods". And if the bosses do not have power over the price of the outflowing resources, then the speed of the inflow of goods is completely.

Statistics honestly record that the “savings rate” (that part of disposable income that people put aside just in case) in the 2nd quarter of 2022 was 11.7% - approximately the same as in the “crisis” years of 2015-17, when it fluctuated in the range from 10 to 13%. In "normal years" Russians save about 5-6% of their income for a "rainy day".

Doubling the savings rate is a lot. Where people saved every 20th ruble, they now save every 10th. And this is taking into account the fact that people have less free money in general.

At the same time, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation does not get tired of reminding that the “savings model of consumption” is not good for the “structural transformation of the economy” - Russian enterprises cannot get the expected super profits from people in a market cleared of foreign competitors.

True, the main imports to the Russian Federation are still machinery and equipment, but they turned out to be under restrictions.

Therefore, “general imports and dipped - “production” are not sold, and “consumer” - they are not bought. The situation is similar to the classic - "I came to the store, there is a lot of money, but there is nothing to buy". But the availability of money in such a structure of the economy for its owners is more important than the availability of goods. Therefore, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation sends a signal - everything is fine, there is money!

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