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Russia’s Q1 Trade Surplus Hits Record As Oil And Gas Prices Soar

Russia’s current account surplus, the broadest measure of trade, more than doubled in the first quarter of 2022 from the same period last year amid soaring oil and gas prices, according to data from the Russian central bank cited by Bloomberg.

Russia—which continued its oil and gas sales in Q1 at the highest prices in years—saw its current account surplus jump by more than 2.5 times from last year’s first quarter to $58.2 billion from $22.5 billion.

Russian revenues from oil and gas sales soared in the first quarter, while imports plunged amid companies withdrawing from Russia over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This resulted in a major surplus in the Russian trade of goods and services.

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“Export inflows stayed practically the same, but imports dropped sharply because of logistics limits and restrictions imposed by Western countries,” Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told local newspaper Izvestia in an interview published during the weekend.

Despite the widespread global condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia continued to sell its oil and gas to its key export markets in the first quarter. Asian buyers China and India continued buying Russian oil at hefty discounts, while Europe continued buying natural gas. Europe also continued buying Russian oil for most of Q1, although many European majors said in early March that they would not trade with spot Russian crude and oil products after the invasion of Ukraine.  

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Russia expects to earn additional oil and gas revenues equivalent to $9.6 billion (798.4 billion Russian rubles) this month, its finance ministry said last week.

Despite the self-sanctioning of many European buyers of Russian oil, Moscow continues to export its oil, and Europe continues to pay for and import Russian natural gas.  

On Friday, the EU said it would be imposing a ban on imports of coal and other solid fossil fuels from Russia as of August 2022 as part of the fifth round of EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The EU is currently discussing sanctions on Russian oil, although a consensus seems weeks away as the bloc is split over an oil embargo.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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