Russia’s biggest trading partners in 2022

China, Turkey and the Netherlands became Russia's main trading partners in 2022, according to the Federal Customs Service (FCS) records. Germany and Belarus were also among the five main trading partners. Experts predict further shift in the foreign trade of Russia toward the so-called «friendly» countries.

The trade turnover with Turkey has grown most impressively — by 84% compared to the previous year. China and Belarus are holding the second and third place in terms of trade turnover growth — 28% and 10% respectively. Trade turnover with two European countries has expected decreased: by 23% with Germany, and by by 0.1% with the Netherlands.

China is the only country that has maintained its leading position among Russia's largest trading partners since 2021. The trade turnover between the two countries in 2022 amounted to $140.7 billion. Next came Germany ($57 billion), the Netherlands ($46.4 billion) and Belarus ($38.4 billion). The United States, which was among the top five largest trading partners of Russia in 2021, lost its position the following year.

In the spring of 2022, the FCS of Russia stopped publishing foreign trade statistics in order to avoid incorrect estimates and prevent speculations. Now data on Russia's foreign trade balance can be obtained from auxiliary sources. For example, according to the UN Comtrade Database, the volume of Russia's foreign trade in the first 10 months of 2022 amounted to $421.5 billion, which is 20.4% lower than in the same period of 2021. The main blow fell on imports — in annual terms, it decreased by 51.5%, while exports decreased only by 3%.

In March 2022, the government allowed parallel imports of a number of goods in order to circumvent foreign trade restrictions imposed by the Western countries in response to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Sanctions and counter-sanctions from Russia became the main factor in changing the structure of foreign trade turnover last year.

The main factors that influenced the structure of Russia's exports and imports in 2022 — sanctions and the dynamics of energy prices — will remain in force this year, experts predict. The trend toward a decrease in foreign trade turnover with «unfriendly» countries and an increase in the importance of the «friendly» ones will continue. The place of the Netherlands in the top five largest trading partners of Russia is determined by the fact that this country is a hub for Russian oil exports. Accordingly, the dynamics of trade with the Netherlands in 2023 will depend on the policy of energy sanctions and oil prices.

Experts expect an increase in trade turnover with China, Turkey and the countries of Russia’s «near abroad»: Kazakhstan, Belarus and Central Asian countries. India, which enjoyed a significant discount on Russian oil and expanded trade with Russia in 2022, is also likely to consolidate its place as one of Russia's significant foreign trade partners.

Source — Vedomosti

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