What is the economic situation in Barents Russia?

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The turnover in commercial organizations in Murmansk Oblast totaled 52,306 million rubles in January 2016. The figure indicates a 7.1 percent growth compared to the same period in 2015. Murmansk Statistics Service (Murmanskstat) recently published a report about the socio-economic situation in the oblast.

Despite the economic crisis, and an overall decline in the tourism industry over the last two years, hotels and restaurants in Murmansk Oblast experienced significant growth in the first month of 2016. The total revenue of enterprises in this sector reached 940,5 million rubles – equaling a growth of 76.2 percent compared to January 2015.

The mining industry also showed some successful figures this January: the sector registered a 35.9-percent growth compared with the previous year. However, as the report notes, fuel and energy production has not been included here.

Among other sectors experiencing increased turnover this January, are also fishing and fish farming; electricity, gas and water supply; construction; transport and communications; public health service and other communal and social services.

At the same time, the processing industry in Murmansk Oblast faced a thirty-percent decline at the beginning of 2016. The most considerable drop was registered in the textile and clothing manufacturing sector, almost fifty percent (the figure in January 2016 totaled 18.2 million rubles).

The region’s property market was also hit by the economic crisis. The sector registered a turnover of 2,386 million rubles in the first month of 2016, which is 23.5 percent lower than the figure from January 2015.

A negative development was also registered in sectors like agriculture, military security, public administration, social insurance and education.

Industrial development in the Barents Region

As statistics from Patchwork Barents show, Sweden has the highest industrial production value in the Barents Region. The two northern counties Norrbotten and Västerbotten registered a gross value of 36,686 million USD in 2013, and 36,020 million in 2014. However, this figure has been under a gradual decline since 2011, when the value totaled 39,088 million USD and was the highest rate since 2003 (17,416 million USD).

The second country in line by industrial production value is Finland. According to the latest available data (2013), the three northernmost provinces registered a gross value of 36,525 million USD, which is only 161 million USD below Barents Sweden.

Over the last decade, Barents Finland’s industrial production development has been very fluctuating. For example, in 2011, it reached 38,649 million USD, but the following year it dropped to 34,197 million, and in 2013 increased again with 2,328 million USD. The most successful year for the Finnish industrial producers was 2008, when the value totaled 45,445 million USD.

Barents Russia takes third place with a gross production value of 23,534 million USD in 2013. It is worth noting that this is a record high rate for the area since 1999.

The lowest production value in 2013 was registered in Barents Norway, only 8,712 million USD, which is less than a quarter of the figure of Northern Sweden and Finland and one third of the figure of Barents Russia.