Industry reposes confidence in Russia's economic recovery

2023-06-16 09:42:16China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The 26th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, being held under the theme "Sovereign Development as the Basis of a Just World: Joining Forces for Future Generations", opened on Wednesday.

This year's forum brings together business leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians and public figures to discuss issues regarding both the Russian and global economy.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin will take part in the plenary session of the forum on Friday, and will deliver a speech that may include his perspective of the Russian and global economic development.

Unlike previous forums, organizers did not announce in advance which countries' representatives had confirmed their participation.

Many entrepreneurs at the forum expressed their confidence in Russia's economy.

Pavel Lyakhovich, head of Basic Polymers Unit of Sibur in Moscow, said Russia's economy has proved sustainable against external shocks, and a number of Russian producers, despite having lost some international customers, were able to replace goods of foreign producers who left the markets.

"For example, we, at Sibur, developed niche polymers for packaging and medical industries which were previously imported. On top of that, Russian exporters managed to redirect their exports from West to East."

Last year, the integrated petrochemicals giant managed to maintain its net profit at the 2021 level, Lyakhovich said. Sibur has been launching new products, such as different types of polymers, specialty chemicals and others, to replace imports.

In addition, the company increased its sales to China and Southeast Asia last year and is planning to increase sales in other international markets, he said.

Alexander Shevelev, CEO of Severstal, one of the largest steel and mining companies in Russia, held the same view as Lyakhovich.

Following an 8 percent decrease in production last year, Severstal plans to restore it to previous levels by rebuilding supply chains, and redirecting 80 percent of total sales to domestic market and to new foreign markets, including Asia.

Affected by sanctions

"Needless to say, Russia's export-oriented industries, including the steel industry, were one of the most affected by Western sanctions," Shevelev said. "Historically, our country has been an exporter of steel. Russian enterprises produce about 70 million metric tons of steel each year, and only 40 million tons are consumed domestically. With the introduction of sanctions, our important export markets were closed. Therefore, we all had to adapt significantly.

"The good news is that last year's decrease in metal consumption in Russia, which was only 3 percent, was not as dramatic as previously thought," Shevelev said, adding that all steel consuming industries demonstrated relative stability in current conditions, including because of support measures from the state.


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