BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2017/46

Even with the slowdown, the value of goods exports and goods imports increased in 3Q17 still by about 20 % y-o-y in dollar terms. The higher value of exports was supported largely by higher oil prices, while export volumes of several major commodities were down from a year ago. The export volume of crude oil and oil products was only down a fraction, while export volumes of e.g. metals and fertilizers were down more pronouncedly. Lower growth in investment-led imports such as machinery and equipment, as well as metals, slowed the growth of goods imports in 3Q17. However, import growth remained in double digits in all major goods categories.

For January-September, the value of Russian goods exports was 250 billion dollars. The value of exports was up by 26 % y-o-y, which was the same as the increase in the price of Urals-grade crude oil. Lifted by rising prices, the share of oil & gas in goods exports is back above 60 % this year. In contrast, the share of machinery, equipment and transport vehicles has fallen below 7 %. EU countries accounted for 46 % of Russian exports, while 21 % went to Asian countries and 9 % to countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. China has recently emerged as Russia's most important individual export market, just nosing out the Netherlands.

The value of goods imports in the first nine months of the year was about 170 billion dollars, an increase of 25 % y-o-y. Meanwhile, the ruble's real effective (trade-weighted) exchange rate (REER) appreciated 21 %. The import breakdown by category was led by machinery, equipment and transport vehicles with 48 %, followed by chemical products with 18 % and foodstuffs with 13 %. About 38 % of imported goods came from the EU, 33 % from Asia and 8 % from the Eurasian Economic Union. China, again the most important individual import country by far, accounted for over 20 % of imports.