Russia: Exports contract in February
March 28, 2014
In February, exports contracted 0.1% over the same month last year. The reading contrasted the 1.6% increase recorded in January and represented the first drop in the last four months. Imports fell 9.1% in February, which exceeded the 5.2% contraction recorded in January. The trade surplus reached USD 17.6 billion in February (February 2013: USD 15.3 billion surplus). The 12-month sum of the trade balance widened in February from the previous month's USD 182 billion to USD 184 billion. The price for Ural oil, Russia's key export commodity, seemed to be unaffected by the recent tension between Russia and Ukraine regarding the Crimean peninsula. After a spike on 3 March-when the price for oil hit USD 110.41 per barrel, the highest level since the beginning of the year-the price has gradually moderated. On 2 April, the Ural oil barrel traded at USD 105.25, which was 0.4% lower than the same day of the previous month and 3.2% lower than in the same day of last year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect that exports will grow a paltry 0.3% in 2014 and accelerate to a 2.5% expansion in 2015.