Category Archives: Russian trade balance

12/9/15: Russian Exports & Trade Balance for July

Central Bank of Russia released latest figures (for July 2015) covering external trade in goods. Here are some details.

Russian exports of goods (in US dollar terms) fell 40.15% y/y in July following a 25.6% drop in June. These are not seasonally-adjusted figures, so we can only do y/y comparatives. The drop was sharper for Russian trade with countries outside the CIS (down 42.35% in July) than with CIS countries (down 'only' 22.71%). This implies a reversal in June changes when exports to CIS countries fell more substantially than exports to non-CIS countries (-30.46% and -24.76% respectively).

Taking out some monthly volatility, 3mo average for Russian exports of goods were down 32.15% y/y in May-July, with distribution of declines pretty much even across both CIS and non-CIS states (-32.19% and -32.15%, respectively).

Russian imports of goods fell even more than exports in percentage terms. Russian imports of goods fell 41.87% in July in y/y terms, having previously posted a decline of 38.3% in June. 3mo average through July 2015 was down 40.19% y/y.

However, in level terms, declines in exports were sharper than declines in imports: 3mo average through July 2015 for exports was down USD14.04 billion against decline in imports of USD10.99 billion.

As the result, Russian trade balance (goods only) deteriorated sharply in July 2015, declining 37.21% y/y in July, having previously posted a relatively small decline of 1.24% in June. On a 3mo average basis through July 2015, trade balance in goods was down USD3.041 billion compared to the same period in 2014 (-18.66%). On 3mo average basis, trade balance with CIS was down marginally USD802 million in value terms, but sharply in percentage terms (-29.3%), while trade balance with non-CIS states was down sharply in both levels (USD2.24 billion) and in percentage terms (-16.5%).

As chart above shows, the contraction in July Trade Balance was very sharp. To see this, consider historical series for Russian Trade Balance in goods since January 2000:

July 2015 y/y decline in overall Trade Balance for goods ranks as the sharpest since July 2009 and 13th sharpest decline since January 2000.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall July drop in Russian Trade Balance (goods only) was driven primarily by lower energy (oil and gas) prices and deterioration in Ruble valuations (Ruble is down some 15% since July 1).

As a related note, as reported by Bloomberg earlier this month, despite another strong harvest, Russian exporters of wheat are being held out of the global markets by the Government measures aimed at curbing food inflation at home.

13/2/15: January Russian imports ex-CIS down massively

Russian external trade figures for Q4 2014 show accelerating trend toward decline in both exports and imports.

According to the latest data, value of goods exports and imports in Q4 2014 fell almost 20% y/y, with December fall of 25% y/y. Russian imports from Ukraine were down some 50% and exports to Ukraine fell 70% y/y.

Oil price effects were pretty substantial as Urals price fell by almost 1/3rd in Q4 2014 compared to Q4 2013. But there was also a 7% decline in the volume of oil exports, as well as ca 30% drop in gas exports by volume. Offsetting these, petroleum products exports were up 9% y/y and other commodities exports held up pretty well and even rose.

Q4 2014 imports of machinery and transport equipment were down some 20% y/y, in line with the decline in imports of food, textiles and passenger cars.

Overall, in 2014, oil and gas accounted for roughly 70% of all Russian exports, largely unchanged on 2013. Overall value of goods exports in 2014 was down 6% (USD32 billion) on 2013, while goods imports fell 10% (just over USD22 billion).

Meanwhile, Russian trade balance posted 3.7% higher surplus for 2014, rising to USD188.66 billion compared to 2013 level of USD181.94 billion, although the surplus was still short of 2011 peak of USD196.85 billion.

Total exports reached USD496.66 billion in 2014, which is some 5.1% lower than in 2013, while total value of imports was down 9.8% y/y (to USD341.34 billion). Imports finished 2014 at their lowest level in four years. These are figures from the Central Bank of Russia.

Based on Russian Customs data, exports registered with Customs stood at USD496.94 billion in 2014, down 5.8% y/y and imports were USD314.97 billion, down 9.2% y/y. Trade balance stood at USD210.96 billion, down 0.6%. Trade balance has deteriorated in November-December 2014 very significantly, down 24.5% and 25.2% y/y, respectively. Only comparable level of deterioration was marked in February 2014 when Russian trade balance fell 23.7% y/y and in September, when it fell 24.5%.

And a 'wake up and smell the roses' moment - January data (preliminary and covering main categories of goods) for Russian imports from the trading partners excluding CIS shows imports of goods falling a massive 40.8% y/y to USD9.855 billion in January 2015, compared to USD16.65 billion in January 2014. Food imports are down 41.9%, Chemicals imports are down 35.3%, Textiles and Clothing imports are down 39.2%, Machinery and Equipment imports are down 44.6%.