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Russia ramps up trade with Africa and Asia – customs data

Moscow has been diversifying economic cooperation in light of Western sanctions

Russia’s economic cooperation with Asian and African countries has continued to grow while trade with the European Union has declined, according to the latest report by the Federal Customs Service (FCS).

Data released this week showed exports to Asia jumped to $226.6 billion in the first nine months of the year, up by 10% from the same period of 2022. Exports to Africa surged by over 50% to $15.6 billion in January-September, compared with $10.1 billion one year ago.

Russian imports from the two regions also increased, amounting to $140 billion in value terms in the case of Asia, up by 40% on 2022. Moscow also boosted purchases from Africa by 10% to $2.5 billion.

Asian countries’ share of Russia’s overall foreign trade now accounts for about 70%, according to FCS data.

In contrast, Russian trade with the EU has steadily declined. Exports to the bloc plunged from $216.7 billion in January-September 2022 to just $65.3 billion in the same period of this year. Imports from the EU were down by around 10% to $59.2 billion, data showed.

“There has been a radical change in cargo turnover, the share and weight of countries in our trade. If previously EU countries accounted for 50% or more in pre-crisis, pre-Covid times, now it is up to 16%,” the acting head of the FCS, Ruslan Davydov, recently said. He added that trade with China and India was growing rapidly, while turnover with Latin American countries was also on the rise.

READ MORE: Russia-China trade approaching milestone – data

Overall, Russian foreign trade amounted to $530.2 billion in the first nine months of 2023, decreasing by 16% from a year earlier. FCS data showed that exports declined by nearly 30%, to $317 billion, while imports increased by 18%, to $213.3 billion. The trade balance surplus amounted to $103.6 billion, according to the report.

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