Political events in 2022 had a significant impact on the global economy, including the Russian economy. Many foreign companies stopped operating in Russia, and Russian businesses began to relocate to the friendly countries segment.
Russian exports began to withdraw from unfriendly countries and chose friendly countries as their main reference point. According to the Ministry of Economic Development, the share of exports to unfriendly countries has decreased from 58% to 35% at the end of 2022. By contrast, the share of exports to friendly countries increased from 42% to 65%. Most of it went to China.
Russian exports are predominantly commodities, especially oil. One reason for the reorientation of exports is the imposition of sanctions on Russian oil by the EU as well as the oil price ceilings.
According to data for the first 11 months of the year 2022, exports rose by more than 23% compared to 2021, but imports into Russia, on the other hand, decreased by 12.7%. Overall, Russian foreign trade turnover for the year increased by 10% to $768 billion in 11 months.
The decline in Russian exports to unfriendly countries as well as lower imports to Russia from such countries is also confirmed by the Federal Customs Service. For obvious reasons, the decline was mainly concentrated in European countries.
How exports were redirected
According to Elina Rybakova of the analytical centre Bruegel (Brussels), the biggest export focus after the start of the military operation was on India, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey. Between January and November 2022, Russian imports to India increased 4.4 times, Turkey 2 times and Hungary 2.2 times. These countries predominantly buy Russian oil and oil products. As already mentioned, supplies from Russia have also increased to China by 43%.
External trade targets for 2023
The Ministry of Economic Development notes that in 2023 priority is given to countering discrimination in trade within the WTO, as well as to conclude a free trade agreement with Iran and Egypt, and to negotiate a similar agreement with India.
Other important tasks according to the ministry’s presentation are establishing new sea trade routes for cargo ships, opening correspondent accounts in friendly countries, and localising Russian production abroad.