Russia: Merchandise exports rebound in February
Merchandise exports rose 2.0% over the same month last year in February, rebounding from January’s 12.3% year-on-year drop. February’s outturn marked the first expansion in nearly two years and the strongest result since February 2019. Meanwhile, merchandise imports climbed 13.3% over the same month last year in February (January: +2.1% yoy), marking the best result since April 2018.
Meanwhile, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 8.3 billion surplus in February (January 2021: USD 9.3 billion surplus; February 2020: USD 10.2 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 85.8 billion surplus in February, compared to the USD 87.7 billion surplus in January.
Looking forward, higher global crude prices and 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.