Russia’s foreign trade turnover declined by 16.5 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2016 to USD335.9 billion, according to Rosstat data published on November 22, 2016.
The foreign trade decline rate moderated in September, with the trade surplus reaching USD63.1 billion in the nine-month period from January to September. The surplus in September alone came to USD7.4 billion, beating August and July results and almost catching up with the figures for May and June. The alarming growth trend in imports outpacing that of exports moderated in September, with imports declining by 3.6 percent month-on-month to USD17 billion and exports gaining 10 percent month-on-month to USD25.75 billion.
In the nine-month period from January to September 2016, overall exports declined by 22.8 percent year-on-year to USD202 billion, while imports were down 3.5 percent year-on-year to USD130 billion. In the previous months, analysts were alarmed that a sustainable overall tendency towards imports recovery was on the rise, warning that the trend could lead to the narrowing of the current account surplus without the growth in oil prices, in turn posing currency exchange risks towards the end of 2016. Imports to Russia in September alone slipped across all major categories, declining by 2.2 percent month-on-month for food and agricultural produce (18.9 percent of total imports), by 0.1 percent month-on-month for chemicals (13.5 percent of the total), and by 2.3 percent month-on-month for machinery and equipment (46.7 percent of total imports). In annual terms, machinery imports posted a 2.3-percent year-on-year growth in the nine-month period from January to September.
On the export side, exports of crude oil in the nine-month period from January to September declined by 25 percent year-on-year to USD52 billion, with the negative trend generally unchanged. Crude oil accounts for 25.9 percent of total exports. Exports of fuels and energy declined by 30 percent year-on-year in the nine months of 2016, accounting for a 58.5-percent share of total exports (64-percent share for the corresponding period of 2015). Notably, grain exports jumped in September by 39 percent year-on-year (65 percent year-on-year in August) amid a record-high harvest, pushing January-to-September export growth up to 3.8 percent year-on-year for total grain exports of USD3.9 billion. The overall agricultural exports went up by 4.5 percent year-on-year in the nine months to USD11.8 billion.
Russia’s trade turnover with the European Union declined by 21 percent to USD143 billion. The turnover with the United States fell by 10 percent to USD14 billion, while the turnover figure remained almost unchanged for China, contracting by only 0.6 percent to USD46.5 billion. Trade with the C.I.S. countries declined by 18.5 percent to USD40 billion in the nine-month period from January to September.