Russia poses the greatest military threat to European security. This statement is contained in the new strategy for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, published on the website of the Ministry of Defense of this state on Monday, March 22. The Forpost decided to find out whether the residents of Foggy Albion agree with such a definition.
In 2020, despite the coronavirus and a sharp decline in global economic activity, trade turnover between Russia and Britain reached $26.5 billion, 53.6% more than in 2019. By comparison, the volume of our foreign trade with China during the same period decreased by 6%, with Belarus by 14%, with Germany by 21%, and with the Netherlands by as much as 41%. What is the reason? Has London, unlike the rest of the world, decided, despite the lockdown, to dramatically increase its business ties with domestic business, contrary to logic? Or are such impressive statistics due to the low base effect?
The latter assumption is wrong. Our trade balance bottomed out back in 2016 when it fell to an all-time low of $10.3 billion. Since then, until the pandemic began, there was an upward trend caused both by rising prices on commodity markets and by the basic need of British businesses for Russian goods. This is the case, not the other way around because statistics clearly indicate that our exports to the United Kingdom traditionally exceed imports from there by two to three times.
Last year the trade surplus reached a record $19.7 billion, having more than doubled. The reason for such a significant surge was the sharply increased demand for precious stones and metals, which are becoming progressively more popular among investors during crises when there are doubts about the stability of other financial instruments. For example, in 2020, Russia sold 113.5 tons of gold in the UK for the “cosmic” amount of $ 5.3 billion. This is a third more than was sold to all the countries of the world for the previous three years.
Gold, platinum, and other minerals not only offset the negative impact of lower oil and natural gas prices but also brought trade between the countries to an all-time high level. This happened despite political differences and attempts by the West to demonize our country, including in the eyes of financiers.
But what will happen next? Will the trend change as London’s need for the yellow metal is no longer so great? According to many British economists, there is no hurry to answer that question in the affirmative. Circumstances are such that the pace of global economic recovery due to the third wave of the pandemic may not be as optimistic as was imagined last winter. The global GDP growth scenarios due to the numerous lockdowns recently introduced in the EU and South America are at risk of being derailed. This means that those “capital surpluses that exist in the UK and should become investments” could be diverted to regions with better sanitary and epidemiological conditions, particularly China and Russia.