Russia: Trade surplus reaches record high
June 10, 2011
In April, exports added 37.6% over the same month the previous year to reach USD 46.1 billion, which marked an acceleration compared to the 29.8% expansion registered in March. With the strong recovery in trade, exports are moving closer to pre-crisis levels. The 3-month sum in exports reached USD 129.3 billion in April, which marked the highest level since September 2008 and is not far from the peak of USD 136.8 billion registered in August 2008. Since the USD 57.3 billion trough recorded in April 2009, exports have more than doubled. Exports are expected to pick up further in the coming months, following the decision of Prime Minister Putin to lift the ban on grain exports approved in August last year. The measure was originally aimed at preventing a surge in domestic food prices as a consequence of grain supply shortages in the wake of the drought and wildfires that affected the country in the summer of 2010. Imports rose 39.9% year-on-year in April, down from the 42.6% increase recorded in March. As a consequence of booming exports, the trade surplus widened further to USD 19.3 billion, which represents the highest level on record. That said, while moderating compared to last month, the price for Ural oil, Russia's key export commodity, remains elevated, boding well for strong export revenues going forward. In the last week of May, the price for Ural oil reached USD 110.10 per barrel, which was down from the almost 3-year peak recorded in April but up 60.4% from the price recorded in May last year.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions