Russia’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds (68.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Russia’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $3.745 trillion in 2016. Therefore, exports accounted for about 7.6% of total Russian economic output.
From a continental perspective, 55% of Russian exports by value are delivered to European countries while 35.7% are sold to Asian importers. Russia ships another 4% worth of goods to Africa with 3.8% going to North America.
Given Russia’s population of 142.4 million people, its total $285.5 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $2,000 for every resident in that country.
Russia’s unemployment rate was 5.6% as of January 2017 down slightly from 5.8% in December 2015, according to Trading Economics.
Russia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Russian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Russia.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$134.7 billion (47.2% of total exports)
- Iron, steel: $14.1 billion (4.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $8.9 billion (3.1%)
- Machinery including computers: $6.8 billion (2.4%)
- Fertilizers: $6.6 billion (2.3%)
- Wood: $6.5 billion (2.3%)
- Aluminum: $6 billion (2.1%)
- Cereals: $5.6 billion (2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $4 billion (1.4%)
- Copper: $3.3 billion (1.2%)
Gems and precious metals were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 118.7% for the 7-year period starting in 2009. Propelling that gain were improved international sales of diamonds and platinum.
In second place for improving export sales was Russian cereals which was up 62.8% led by wheat and corn.
Russia’s electrical machinery and equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value up 54.6%, including improved smartphone sales.
Three top 10 Russian product categories declined in value. Exported mineral fuels including oil fell -29.2%, copper exports dipped -6.9% while Russian iron and steel shipments depreciated by -4.1%.
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 is 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.
Overall, Russia generated a $103.2 billion trade surplus during 2016. However, this represents a -21.2% slowdown from its $131 billion surplus for 2009.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$133.3 billion (Down by -29% since 2009)
- Iron, steel: $11.1 billion (Down by -2.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $8.5 billion (Up by 129.4%)
- Fertilizers: $6.6 billion (Up by 19.7%)
- Wood: $5.9 billion (Up by 20.3%)
- Cereals: $5.3 billion (Up by 63.6%)
- Aluminum: $5 billion (Up by 2.9%)
- Copper: $2.8 billion (Down by -9.6%)
- Nickel: $1.9 billion (Down by -46.5%)
- Fish: $1.6 billion (Up by 10495.5%)
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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$28.6 billion (Up by 30.3% since 2009)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$17.5 billion (Up by 9.9%)
- Vehicles : -$13.1 billion (Up by 11%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$8.3 billion (Up by 0.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$5.3 billion (Up by 18.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$3.8 billion (Down by -13.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$3.7 billion (Down by -3.2%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$2.6 billion (Up by 29%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$2.4 billion (Up by 51.4%)
- Other chemical goods: -$2.2 billion (Up by 58.5%)
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 for 2015. The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Russia:
- Gazprom (oil, gas)
- Surgutneftegas (oil, gas)
- Sistema (telecommunications)
- Severstal (iron, steel)
- Mechel (iron, steel)
- Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel (iron, steel)
Wikipedia also lists large international trade players from Russia:
- Rosneft (oil, gas)
- LukOil (oil, gas)
- Novatek (oil, gas)
- Norilsk Nickel (diversified metals)
- Transneft (oil and gas equipment)
- Uralkali (specialized chemicals)
- Tatneft (oil, gas)
- Alrosa (diversified metals)
- Novolipetsk Steel (iron, steel)
- UC Rusal (aluminum)
Russia’s capital city is Moscow.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.
See also Russia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Russia’s Top 10 Imports, Russia Top Trading Partners, Top Russian Trade Balances, Highest Value Russian Export Products and Capital Facts for Moscow, Russia
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 17, 2017
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 17, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 17, 2017
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 17, 2017