Economy continues to decline, but a short-lived growth is possible

Following the results of the first five months of 2015 the overall situation in the Russian economy is characterized by a decrease in the main macroeconomic indicators compared to the same period of 2014. According to the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) and estimates of the Ministry of Economic Development (MED), the index of industrial production in Russia decreased by 2,3% in the period from January to May 2015, freight turnover - by 2,1%, of which railway transport - by 0,4%; the volume of paid services for people - by 1,4%. The unemployment rate grew by 5,7% for the first five months of the current year. The Consumer Price Index, according to MED and the Central Bank of the RF, made 8,5% for January-June 2015.

A more serious decline was shown by physical volumes of output on the basic types of economic activity - by 4,0%; investments in fixed assets – 4,8%; the scope of work on the type of activity "Construction" – 6,1%; retail trade turnover – 7,7%; the real average monthly salary of one employee – 8,8%; export - by 29,3%, import - by 38,3%. As a positive result on this background it may be marked only the index of agricultural output, which rose by 3,3%, and the growth in the volume of communication services by 1.0%.

At the same time, based on data of MED and Rosstat, economists assert that the decline rates of economic indicators are slowing. For example, Russia's GDP in 2015 has been declining from month to month (seasonal factor was not taken into account): in January compared to the previous month – by 1,5%, in February - by 0,9%, in March – 0,8%, in April – 0,6%, in May, according to preliminary estimates, - 0,4%.

The slowdown in the fall of GDP in Russia, according to analysts, was contributed finally by current inflationary developments, which led to a sharp rise in prices, and a weak ruble. According to estimates of the experts of the Information agency Credinform, manufacturing increased the volume of shipped goods of own production in monetary terms due to raising prices on their products. For the period from January to May 2015 the increase made 13,9% compared to the same period of the last year. The highest growth was marked in the manufacture of food products, including beverages and tobacco – 24,7%; in chemical industry – 28,5%, and metallurgical production – 31,6%.

Illustrative is also the turnover of organizations on the types of economic activity. The increase in the first five months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014 amounted to 8,2%. The significant increase in turnover occurred in fishing industry - by 70,1%; metallurgical production – 35,1%; chemical industry – 27,4%; water transport activity – 27,1%; in agricultural sector – 25,9%; manufacture of pulp, ground wood, paper, cardboard and articles thereof – 25,3%; in production of food, including beverages and tobacco – 20,5%; mining – 16,4%, and others.

Moreover, MED and a part of banking experts believe that the economic growth of Russia is possible in the second half of 2015. This will be contributed either by an increase in private consumption, or by a rise in private investment demand. In this and in another case there are internal risks of capital outflows and an increase in pressure on the ruble by possible fluctuations in the external environment. However, the trends of the first scenario are already observed, for example, reduction in food prices. Currently there is a drop in wholesale gasoline prices, and generally in August 2015 the experts expect deflation.

Compulsory requirement for business entities to have a corporate seal is canceled

Two months have passed since the Federal law №82-FL “On amending certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation with regard to the abolishment of a compulsory requirement for business entities to have a corporate seal” as of 06.04.2015 has come into force.

Changes are applied to 15 acting legislative documents, the most important of which are:

  • Part II of the Civil Code of the RF;
  • The Labor Code of the RF;
  • The Arbitration Procedure Code of the RF;
  • The Code of Civil Procedure of the RF;
  • Laws:
    • - №208-FL "On joint-stock companies";
    • - №14-FL "On limited liability companies";
    • - №39-FL "On securities market";
    • - №122-FL " On state registration of rights to real estate and dealings with it";
    • - №102-FL "On mortgage (pledge of real estate)";
    • - №229-FL "On enforcement proceedings";
    • - №44-FL "On the contract system for the procurement of goods, works and services for the supply of government and municipal needs ".

The following federal laws were also amended: on state regulation of the production and circulation of ethyl alcohol and alcohol products; privatization of state and municipal property; protection of legal entities' and individual entrepreneurs' rights in the course of state control (supervision) and municipal control; customs regulation.

The development of the law was carried out in the context of the implementation of measures approved by the Order of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation №317-r «Optimization of procedures for the registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs» as of March 7, 2013 and pursuant to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on May 7, 2012 № 596 «About long-term state economic policy». When preparing the draft law, the legislature based on international experience enables entrepreneurs to choose methods and means of documents protection and apply modern forms such as digital signature, secure forms, holograms etc.

On the one hand, according to analysts, the presence of the seal does not guarantee the authenticity of the document because of the technologies development; on the other hand, cancellation of seals reduces the level of documents security. This may exacerbate the problem of forgery and thus increase competition in the market of electronic signature certificates.

As a result of generalization the amendments can be summarized in the following key positions:

  • the amendments applying only to business entities not required to have a seal, but with the right to have;
  • the seal is obligatory for all companies registered before the act came into force;
  • information on seal should be spelled out in the statute;
  • the seal is equated to the individual attributes of the organization on a par with the logo or trademark, and does not have to be round;
  • both at the federal level and in the regulations the obligatory sealing persists in certain cases (strict reporting forms, declarations and other tax statements, etc.).

The majority of experts tend to believe that business entities should not rush to give up the practice of sealing before amending the relevant laws and regulations.

However, the amendments facilitate the process of registration of legal entities, make doing business more secure for entrepreneurs and stimulate further implementation of digital signature, legally relevant electronic documents exchange systems and integrated information support of business.