Russia reports significant drop in imports

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A nearly 7% decline has been recorded since the beginning of the year in annual terms, customs data shows

Russian imports have slowed in the first 2.5 months of the year, decreasing by 6-7% when compared to the same period of 2023, the Federal Customs Service (FCS) has revealed.

According to Ruslan Davydov, the acting head of the FCS, the dynamics of imports in the first quarter largely depend on the date of the Chinese New Year. The Asian country’s holiday season usually affects business activity and international trade.

“It will be possible to talk about clearer trends in this year’s imports by the end of May,” Davydov noted.

At the same time, the FCS head indicated that Russia’s trade balance remains positive, as the excess of exports over imports is about 30-35%.

China has been Russia’s biggest trade partner for over a decade, supplying the nation with cars, machinery, electronic goods, and other produce. Russia mainly supplies crude oil and other fossil fuels to China.

Last year, trade between Moscow and Beijing hit $240 billion, surging 26.3% on the year before and setting yet another record, as Ukraine-related sanctions have forced Russia to redirect its trade flows eastwards. Energy accounted for a third of that volume, the statistics show.

According to Davydov, the FCS is seeking to streamline customs procedures to speed up the delivery of goods and facilitate further growth in trade.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov had earlier forecast that bilateral trade would grow to $300 billion by the end of the decade.

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