Russia: Merchandise exports fall at a more pronounced rate in January
Merchandise exports shrank 13.7% in annual terms in January, following December’s 10.4% dive. Meanwhile, merchandise imports grew for the second consecutive month, rising 1.8% over the same month last year in January (December: +2.3% yoy).
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 8.9 billion surplus in January (December 2021: USD 10.6 billion surplus; January 2020: USD 13.4 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend pointed down, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 87.5 billion surplus in January, compared to the USD 92.0 billion surplus in December.
Looking forward, higher global crude prices in February-March, coupled with a gradual easing in domestic oil production cuts, should support exports in the reminder of Q1. Meanwhile, accelerating rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and recovering global economic activity bode well for the external sector in Q2.