Russia imported US$227 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017, down by -27.9% since 2013 but up by 24.5% from 2016 to 2017.
Russian imports represent 1.4% of total global imports which totaled $16.054 trillion one year earlier in 2016.
From a continental perspective, 47.8% of Russia’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from European countries. Asian trade partners generated 41% of import sales to Russia while 6.4% worth originated from North America. Another 3.2% came from Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean, with 1.2% sent from Africa.
Given Russia ‘s population of 142.3 million people, its total $227 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $1,600 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Russia’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Russia.
1. Machinery including computers: US$45.3 billion (20% of total imports)
2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $26.7 billion (11.8%)
3. Vehicles: $21.4 billion (9.4%)
4. Pharmaceuticals: $10.8 billion (4.8%)
5. Plastics, plastic articles: $8.8 billion (3.9%)
6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $6.2 billion (2.7%)
7. Articles of iron or steel: $5.3 billion (2.3%)
8. Iron, steel: $4.8 billion (2.1%)
9. Fruits, nuts: $4.7 billion (2.1%)
10. Rubber, rubber articles: $3.6 billion (1.6%)
Russia’s top 10 imports accounted for three-fifths (60.6%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Iron and steel represents the fastest-growing Russian import category, up 59.1% from 2016 to 2017.
In second place was imported vehicles up 36.7%, followed by rubber and rubber articles’ 29.2% uptick and machinery including computers’ 28.1% gain.
Plastics posted the most modest increase among the top imported categories via a still respectable 16.2% improvement.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2017, Russian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers:
1. Temperature-change machines: US$6.9 billion (up 13.8% from 2016)
2. Computers, optical readers: $5.1 billion (up 33.3%)
3. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.8 billion (up 15.1%)
4. Miscellaneous machinery: $1.7 billion (up 31.5%)
5. Liquid pumps and elevators: $1.7 billion (up 32.7%)
6. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1.6 billion (up 17%)
7. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $1.5 billion (up 107%)
8. Air or vacuum pumps: $1.4 billion (up 14.2%)
9. Piston engines: $1.2 billion (up 30.3%)
10. Computer parts, accessories: $1.1 billion (up 89.2%)
Among these import subcategories, Russia’s purchases of heavy machinery like bulldozers and excavators (up 107%), computer parts or accessories (up 89.2%) and computers including optical readers (up 33.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Russian businesses and consumers.
In 2017, Russian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical products including consumer electronics:
Among these import subcategories, Russia’s purchases of electric motors or generators (up 39.6%), TV receivers, monitors or projectors (up 35.8%) and lower-voltage switches or fuses (up 35.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
These amounts and the percentage gain within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Russian businesses and consumers.
In 2017, Russian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:
1. Automobile parts/accessories: US$7.9 billion (up 38.9% from 2016)
2. Cars: $6.7 billion (up 11.1%)
3. Trucks: $2 billion (up 93.9%)
4. Tractors: $1.7 billion (up 147.3%)
5. Automobile bodies: $1.5 billion (up 34%)
6. Trailers: $826.5 million (up 89.4%)
7. Special purpose vehicles: $197.5 million (up 20.9%)
8. Public-transport vehicles: $169.3 million (up 40.3%)
9. Motorcycles: $91.2 million (up 75.6%)
10. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $84.6 million (up 15.2%)
Among these import subcategories, Russia’s purchases of tractors (up 147.3%), trucks (up 93.9%) and trailers (up 89.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
These amounts and percentages within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Russian businesses and consumers.
In 2017, Russian importers spent the most on the following 6 subcategories of pharmaceuticals:
Among these import subcategories, Russia’s purchases of medication mixes not in dosage (up 58.8%), blood fractions including antisera (up 25%) and medication mixes in dosage (up 20.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported pharmaceuticals among Russian businesses and consumers.
Occupying Northern Asia and a large part of Eastern Europe making the Russian Federation the world’s biggest area by geographic area, Russia shipped US$357.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount for Russian exports reflects a -32.3% drop since 2013 but a 25.1% improvement from 2016 to 2017.
Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Russia’s exported goods plus services represent 25.6% of total Russian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.
From a continental perspective, 54.1% of Russian exports by value were delivered to European countries while 36.7% were sold to Asian importers. Russia shipped another 4% worth of goods to Africa with 3.6% going to North America.
Given Russia’s population of 142.3 million people, its total $357.1 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $2,500 for every resident in the vast Eurasian country.
Russia’s unemployment rate was 5.2% as of January 2018 down from 5.6% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
e following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Russian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Russia.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the most valuable Russian export product is crude oil followed by refined petroleum oils.
Russia’s top 10 exports accounted for 70% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Copper was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 42.2% from 2016 to 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was Russian cereals which was up 34.3%, led by higher international sales of wheat, barley and corn.
Close behind, Russia’s shipments of iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value up 32.9%.
Overall Russia generated a $130.1 billion trade surplus during 2017–a 26% uptick from the $103.2 billion surplus for 2016.
The following types of Russian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
Russia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of both crude and refined oil. In turn, these cashflows indicate Russia’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Below are exports from Russia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Russia’s goods trail Russian importer spending on foreign products.
Russia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery including computers.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Russia’s competitive disadvantages in the international machinery market, but also represent key opportunities for Russia to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Russian Export Companies
Twenty-eight Russian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Russia:
Wikipedia also lists large international trade players from Russia:
Highest Value Russian Export Products
Below are the 20 highest value export products shipped from Russia during 2017. Shown within brackets is the change in value for each item year over year.
1. Crude oil: US$93.3 billion (up 26.6% since 2016)
2. Processed petroleum oils: $58.2 billion (up 26.8%)
3. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $13.5 billion (up 51.9%)
4. Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished): $6 billion (up 34.9%)
5. Wheat: $5.8 billion (up 37.4%)
6. Aluminum (unwrought): $5.5 billion (up 9.5%)
7. Petroleum gases: $4.7 billion (up 16.2%)
8. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $4.7 billion (down -2.7%)
9. Sawn wood: $4 billion (up 24.9%)
10. Refined copper, unwrought alloys: $3.6 billion (up 51.7%)
11. Platinum (unwrought): $3.3 billion (up 36.7%)
12. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $3.1 billion (up 26.8%)
13. Fertilizer mixes: $2.7 billion (up 5.4%)
14. Gold (unwrought): $2.4 billion (up 159.9%)
15. Nitrogenous fertilizers: $2.3 billion (up 7.7%)
16. Potassic fertilizers: $2.1 billion (up 14.7%)
17. Whole fish (frozen): $2.1 billion (up 4.7%)
18. Turbo-jets: $2 billion (up 29.2%)
19. Sun/safflower/cotton-seed oil: $1.8 billion (up 23.6%)
20. Synthetic rubber: $1.7 billion (up 35%)