Russia: Exports and imports nosedive in April
June 3, 2015
In April, exports amounted to USD 32.7 billion, which marked a 31.3% contraction in annual terms. The print followed the 31.1% plunge registered in March and represented the fastest pace of contraction since September 2009. Imports totaled USD 16.2 billion, which marked a 41.8% year-on-year contraction in April. The drop followed March’s 36.4% decrease tallied in March and marked the fastest decrease in imports since August 2009.
Russia’s trade surplus is narrowing rapidly. In April, the trade surplus totaled USD 16.5 billion, which came in below the USD 19.8 billion observed in the same month last year. Consequently, in the 12 months up to April, the trade surplus recorded USD 180 billion, which was narrower compared to the USD 183 billion registered in the 12 months up to March.
The price for Urals oil is on a roller-coaster. Following a mild drop in March, oil prices recovered in April some of the ground lost, but fell slightly again May. At the end of May, Urals oil traded at USD 62.4 per barrel, which was 2.3% lower than at the end of April. In annual terms, the price for Urals oil is still 42.0% lower.
The Russian Central Bank published its assessment of the country’s economic outlook, where it sees two scenarios. Under a baseline scenario, the Bank expects the price for Urals oil to average USD 80. Under a worst-case scenario, the Bank sees oil prices averaging USD 60.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist