Russia’s Non-Energy Exports Up To 30% Of GDP

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Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

  • Figures show an increasingly diverse economy is developing
  • New trade in agriculture exports to China and Asia
  • Russia will have fully absorbed the impact shock of Western sanctions by 2024 

Russia has long been labeled as a solely oil and gas-based economy, however efforts by the Government to change and diversify the economy appear to be paying off. Non-resource and energy exports were up in 2020, amounting to US$160 billion in 2020, or roughly 30% of all total exports.

Veronika Nikishina, the General Director of the Russian Export Center (REC) said yesterday that “According to our estimates, non-resource and non-energy export were be over US$160 billion in 2020. This is 3.5% more than in 2019 and almost 3.5 times more than in 2000, when total exports were US$46 billion.”

The REC also considers conditions are in place for growth of non-resource and non-energy exports in 2021, even when calculating them under stricter accounting procedures, for example stripping out gold exports.

Nikishina said that “This is the task for us as a development institution, so that exporters can take advantage of these opportunities and build up supplies and our export markets, despite challenging external circumstances exerting strong influences.”

Part of this new export trade sector is in agriculture, where in 2020, Russia exported a record amount to China, with agriculture exports to the PRC hitting US$4.1 billion, an increase of 13.7% over 2019. These comments were made by Gao Feng, of China’s Ministry of Commerce yesterday, with him also stating that China has become the leading importing country for Russian meat products.

He said China intends to intensify trade and economic cooperation with Russia to increase bilateral trade to US$200 billion by 2024. To put that into context, that is about 40% of the total of US-China bilateral trade last year, and about 50% more than the total Russia-EU bilateral trade in 2020. That indicates that within the next two years, Russia will have adapted to Western sanctions and replaced those trade volumes with trade from new markets, predominantly in Asia.

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