OREANDA-NEWS Russia at the end of 2018 became a net exporter in trade with China, according to the statistics published last week by the Federal Customs Service (FCS).

Exports to China last year exceeded imports by $ 3.9 billion, according to the FCS database. The previous ten years, the situation was the opposite: China has consistently supplied goods to Russia for a greater amount than Russia to China; the trade balance for Russia was negative.

The last time exports to China were larger than imports in 2006. However, the scale of trade was much smaller then-trade with China in 2018 exceeded the figure of 2006 by 2.7 times.

Exports to China, which has gradually grown since 2009, moved to a fall in 2015, after the US and Europe imposed sanctions against Russia due to the annexation of the Crimea and the conflict in the Donbass, and oil prices fell sharply. In 2017, after two years of decline, supplies to China began to grow again.

In 2018, the trade turnover with China increased by 25% (+44% in exports and only + 8% in imports), to $108 billion, the principal for Moscow, it exceeded for the first time. In November, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to China announced a new task-to increase the volume of mutual trade to $200 billion.

Fuel and oil remain the largest item of Russian exports to China: for the year of delivery under this item in the money increased immediately by 63%, to $41 billion (Russian oil Urals in 2018 rose by a third).

"Not only the volume is important, the structure of trade turnover is important too. Our trade with China is very specific: we supply energy resources and buy consumer goods," recalls Marcel Salikhov, chief economic officer of the Institute of Energy and Finance. Due to the increase in oil prices, exports increased significantly, and due to the weakening of the ruble, imports increased at a slower pace. It is necessary to diversify supplies to China — at least increasing exports of agricultural products, Salikhov said.