Hit by heavy Western sanctions since the end of February 2022, the Russian economy has seen the European market partially close, particularly with regard to exports of natural gas and oil.
Russia experienced a plummet in its exports to Europe in 2023, against a backdrop of heavy sanctions due to its offensive in Ukraine, and continued its reorientation towards Asian markets, according to official figures. Russia’s exports of goods to Europe last year fell by 68%, to 78.8 billion euros, Russian customs said on Monday, cited by the Interfax news agency.
In total, Russian exports decreased by 28.3% compared to 2022, according to this source, illustrating the persistent difficulties in replacing its old European partners with new customers in Asia, but also in Africa and South America.
Hit by heavy Western sanctions since the end of February 2022, the Russian economy has seen the European market partially close, particularly with regard to exports of natural gas and oil. The cost of the conflict in Ukraine therefore remains significant for Moscow despite the satisfaction of the Kremlin, which ensures that its economy has resisted restrictive measures and is turning to other markets.
A sign of these ongoing changes, last year, Russian exports to Asia increased by 5.6% (to 284 billion euros), while imports from the Asian continent increased by 29 .2% (at 174 billion euros), again according to Russian customs.
More than 220 billion euros exchanged with China in 2023
The Russian trade balance reached 130 billion euros, down almost 60% compared to 2022, when the Russian assault in Ukraine caused global energy prices to explode, a vital financial windfall for Moscow. . Russian customs stopped publishing numerous data – notably the precise distribution by country – in the wake of the launch of the offensive in Ukraine.
In this context of restructuring of the Russian economy, China has become Moscow’s main economic partner for two years, exchanging together for just over 220 billion euros in 2023, a record, according to Chinese customs which communicated mid-January. For the first time in history, the amount of yuan held in Russian banks at the end of 2023 exceeded that of dollars, according to the Russian Central Bank.