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In January-September 2020, Russia’s foreign trade turnover decreased from nine out of ten countries that make up the top 10 of its main trading partners. The only exception to this trend was, unexpectedly, the United Kingdom, with trade volumes growing strongly over the year.

According to the Federal Customs Service, in the first nine months of the year, Russia’s foreign trade turnover fell by 17% compared to the same period in 2019, to $ 407.7 billion. Exports, more than half of which are made up of cheaper energy resources, sagged more than imports. The export volumes decreased by 22.5%, to $ 242.2 billion, and the import volumes – by only 7.4%, to $ 165.5 billion.

Traditionally, China is the first in the top 10 trading partners. The slowdown in business activity and the decline in oil prices led to a decrease in trade with China by 6.9%, to $ 74.4 billion.Besides China, Germany is the top three in terms of turnover with Russia ($ 29.2 billion, minus 24.2%) and the Netherlands ($ 21.1 billion, down 43.5% at once). In the top 10, the turnover of trade with South Korea (by 27.4%), Turkey (by 23.9%), Italy (by 22.5%) also dropped significantly over the year.

Trade with Russia’s partners in the EAEU – Belarus and Kazakhstan – suffered less. The Russian-Kazakhstani turnover decreased by only 5.4%, from $ 14.4 billion to $ 13.6 billion. The more significant turnover with Belarus fell by 19.2%, from $ 24.8 billion to $ 20.1 billion. that the turnover of trade with the United States, despite all the geopolitical difficulties, fell significantly less than in the case of European countries – only by 8.5%, from $ 19.4 billion to $ 17.7 billion.

However, as already noted, the most surprising dynamics was demonstrated by the turnover of trade with the UK – an increase from $ 10.8 billion to $ 18.3 billion, that is, plus 70.2% year-on-year. The entire increase was provided by an increase in exports, which doubled over this period. A study of customs bases for the first and second quarters allows us to see that this was due to a very strong increase in supplies for such items as “precious metals and precious stones” (up to $ 4.5 billion only in the second quarter), as well as an increase in fuel exports. Considering the simultaneous two-fold drop in exports to the Netherlands (this country has always been a “hub” for the supply of raw materials from the Russian Federation), it can be assumed that we are talking about a change in routes by exporters.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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