Russia: Export growth stays robust in September
Merchandise exports totaled USD 24.8 billion in September, which represented a healthy 24.8% expansion from the USD 21.4 billion sum recorded in the same month last year. However, growth came in slightly below August’s 28.7% increase. A solid global economy and higher commodity prices are fueling buoyant export growth, despite geopolitical uncertainties.
Meanwhile, imports contracted for the second month in a row, falling 2.9% in annual terms in September (August: -3.5% year-on-year). The fall likely reflects downbeat consumer sentiment and suggests that private consumption was weak in the month. Accordingly, the trade surplus came in at USD 18.5 billion, which was significantly above the USD 10.2 billion surplus recorded in August 2017 and marked the best reading in eight months.
The trailing 12-month sum of the trade balance testifies the external sector’s ongoing recovery after a commodity-price induced slump: In September, the trailing 12-month sum of the trade balance came in at USD 172 billion, the best reading since July 2015.