Russia: Overall improving export

5 min

First estimates indicate that the annual current account surplus increased to +USD40bn in 2017, equivalent to an estimated +2.6% of GDP, up from +USD26bn in 2016 (+2% of GDP). In Q4 2017, exports of goods surged to USD103bn (+22% q/q and +25% y/y). But this is still well below the USD139bn peak reached in Q4 2013. Rising oil prices supported the outcome in the final quarter of last year, boosting oil and gas exports by +22% y/y. However, non-oil and gas exports rose even stronger, by +29% y/y, returning to the pre-crisis level. In all this indicates that economic sanctions have a lower impact on Russia’s economic performance than oil prices. In full-year 2017, exports of goods reached USD354bn, up by +USD72bn or +25% y/y and above the USD341bn reached in 2015, while imports grew by +USD46bn y/y (+24%) to USD238bn thanks to improved domestic demand as a result of the stabilized RUB and much lower inflation. EH expects higher average oil prices in 2018 (USD62/bbl of benchmark Brent, after USD55/bbl in 2017) to widen the current account surplus to about +3% of GDP this year.