Russia Trade December 2016


Russia: Gradual recovery of external sector continues at the end of 2016

February 28, 2017

In 2016, exports totaled USD 282 billion, which marked a 17.5% contraction relative to the previous year. The annual contraction was, nonetheless, less pronounced that the 31.3% plunge registered in 2015. Russia’s external sector continued to emerge from the doldrums toward the end of last year. In December, exports expanded 8.3% year-on-year, marking the second month of positive growth—and the strongest expansion in nearly five years—following a streak of 27 months of contractions.

Imports totaled USD 191 billion in 2016, which decreased just 0.8% compared to the previous’ year’s level and marked a notable improvement compared to the 37.3% plunge in 2015. A gradual improvement in domestic toward the end of the year prompted imports to expand 10.6% annually in December (November: +6.4% year-on-year), which represented a fifth consecutive increase.

The trade surplus narrowed from USD 149 billion in 2015 to USD 90.4 billion in 2016, which represented the smallest trade surplus since 2004.

Following three consecutive years in contraction, exports are expected to rebound in 2017. The analysts we surveyed this month project Russia’s exports to reach USD 319 billion in 2017, which will represent a 13.0% expansion relative to last year. Going forward, panelists expect exports to continue growing and reach USD 336 billion in 2018, which will mark a 5.4% increase. The trade surplus is expected to increase to USD 112 billion this year.

Author:, Senior Economist

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Russia Trade Chart

Russia Trade12m December 2016

Note: 12-month sum of trade balance in USD billion and annual variation of the 12-month sum of exports and imports in %.
Source: Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) and Ministry of Economic Development.

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