Thursday, March 16, 2023

Russia's Imports and Exports - The Impact of Economic Sanctions

With the idiots running Canada recently announcing that the nation would no longer import Russian steel and aluminum as shown here:

I wondered just how significant trade with Canada was to the Russian economy.  In this posting, we will look at Russia's most important trading partners and the goods traded with them and how trade with these partners has changed over the past decade since Ukraine's 2014 Maidan uprising. 


To better understand Canada's attitude toward Russia, it is important to put the nation's leadership into perspective.  Canada's unofficial Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau's puppeteer and World Economic Forum insider, Chrystia Freeland who made this comment:


"Ukraine can and must win this war. We continue to do everything we can to cut off or limit the revenue used to fund Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine. Canada, and our partners, have already sanctioned the Russian Central Bank and capped the price of Russian oil and gas. And now, we are ensuring Putin cannot pay for his war by selling aluminum and steel in Canada, in coordination with action taken by the United States today.”


...just happens to be of Ukrainian descent and owns a studio apartment in Kyiv.  She has also been on a list of individuals sanctioned by Russia since 2014.


Let's start with some background data on Russian trade from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).  In 2020, Russia was the 11th largest economy in the world in terms of current US dollar GDP,  taking 13th place in total exports and 21st place in total imports.  


Now, let's look at the export side of the ledger.  In 2020, Russia's largest exports were as follows:


1.) Crude Petroleum - $74.4 billion


2.) Refined Petroleum - $48 billion


3.) Petroleum Gas - $19.7 billion


4.) Gold - $18.7 billion


5.) Coal Briquets - $14.5 billion


Russia was the world's largest exporter of wheat ($10.1 billion), semi-finished iron ($4.5 billion), non-filleted frozen fish ($2.58 billion), raw nickel ($2.26 billion) and pig iron ($1.34 billion).

Here is a graphic breaking down Russia's exports from the latest trade data available:


Here is a graphic showing the major trading partners importing goods from Russia from the latest trade data available:


If we look back to 2020, here is a graphic showing Russia's major trading partners:


Since the Trudeau government feels that Canada is so important on the world stage that it's actions against Russia will actually have an impact on whether Russia will win the military action in Ukraine, one should keep in mind that Russian exports to Canada totalled $617 million or 0.19 percent of Russia's total exports in 2020.


Here is a graphic showing the dollar value of exports from Russia by nation for Russia's major trading partners from January 2019 to December 2022:


As you can clearly see, Russia's exports to China, India and Turkey have risen substantially over the past three years and exports to the United States have fallen to less than $1 billion from a high of $3.5 billion in mid 2022.  Canada does not even appear on the listing of China's top trading partners.  Even the United States is not that important; it was the destination for 2.77 percent of Russian exports in 2013, growing to 3.59 percent in 2020, a relatively insignificant trading partner.


To show how Russia's trade picture has changed since 2014, here are the destinations for Russia's exports in 2013:



One thing that really stands out is the growing importance of China in Russia's trade reality with China's share of Russian exports growing from 8.25 percent in 2013 to 14.9 percent in 2020.  To put things into perspective for Canada, the nation was only importing $674 million worth of goods from Russia in 2013 which accounted for 0.15 percent of Russia's total exports in that year.


Now, let's switch to the import side of the ledger.  In 2020, the largest imports were:


1.) Cars - $7.75 billion


2.) Motor vehicle parts and accessories - $7.25 billion


3.) Broadcasting equipment - $7.15 billion


4.) Packaged Medicaments - $7.05 billion


5.) Computers - $4.1 billion


Here is a graphic breaking down Russia's imports from the latest trade data available:



Here is a graphic showing the major trading partners exporting goods to Russia from the latest trade data available:



Just in case you wondered, here is how Russia's GDP has performed since 1989:

While some nations (yes, that's you Chrystia Freeland) feel that their economic actions against Vladimir Putin will bring him and all Russians to their collective knees begging for forgiveness for their "transgressions", in fact, trade with many of these nations is insignificant in Russia's overall trade.  It is China that is and will continue to be, the beneficiary of growing trade with Russia on both the export and import side of the ledger.  As Europe has discovered, sometimes economic sanctions are worse than meaningless.

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