CHINA has become Russia's main trading partner as imports from the EU contracted sharply following sanctions imposed by western countries in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
The Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy calculated that in June, July and August,Russia's goods imports were 24 per cent lower than for the same period last year, leading to a monthly import gap worth US$4.5 billion, according to The Financial Times.
The fall was driven by contracting trade with the EU, down 43 per cent as a result of tough Brussels sanctions targetting the Russian economy, while Russian trade with China increased 23 per cent,making the world's second-largest economy Russia's top trading partner. Moscow stopped publishing most foreign trade data after the start of the war in
"Since China's exports are not sufficient to compensate for the drop of Russia's trade with the EU, Russia's efforts to replace slipping imports from Europe are proving increasingly difficult," said Vincent Stamer, head of the Kiel Trade Indicator."
"The sanctions imposed by the western alliance are apparently hitting the Russian economy hard and noticeably limiting the population's consumption options," he added.
Separate official Chinese data released on Monday showed that the value of China's imports and exports with Russia rose by an annual rate of 35 per cent in October. While this was a smaller annual rate than in the previous three months, the rise was in sharp contrast with China's overall trade contraction. Russian goods exports and imports contracted in October, according to Kiel, falling 2.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively month on month.
Together with trade contraction in Germany and the US, monthly global trade volumes were down 0.8 per cent, according to Kiel analysis of worldwide shipments.