Russia’s Top 10 Exports

Russia’s Top 10 Exports


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$449.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount for Russian exports reflects a -9.7% drop since 2014 but a 25.1% acceleration from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, 54.5% of Russian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 36.8% were sold to Asian importers. Smaller percentages went to Africa (3.8%), North America (3.4%) and Latin America (1.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Given Russia’s population of 142.1 million people, its total $449.3 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $3,200 for every resident in the vast Eurasian country.

In macroeconomic terms, Russia’s total exported goods represent 10.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($4.213 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 10.7% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2018 compares to 11.5% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Russia’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Russia also provided $64.9 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 1.5% of GDP in PPP.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Russia’s unemployment rate was 4.5% as of May 2019 down from 4.7% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Russia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Russian global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Russia.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$237.6 billion (52.9% of total exports)
  2. Iron, steel: $23.4 billion (5.2%)
  3. Cereals: $10.5 billion (2.3%)
  4. Gems, precious metals: $10.1 billion (2.2%)
  5. Machinery including computers: $9.2 billion (2%)
  6. Wood: $9 billion (2%)
  7. Fertilizers: $8.2 billion (1.8%)
  8. Aluminum: $6.6 billion (1.5%)
  9. Copper: $5.4 billion (1.2%)
  10. Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.9 billion (1.1%)

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Russia’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Russia’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (72.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Cereals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories up 38.9% from 2017 to 2018, led by improved international sales of wheat and barley.

In second place for improving export sales was Russian iron and steel which was up 24.5%.

Russia’s shipments of copper posted the third-fastest gain via a 14.1% gain in value.

There were two decliners among the top 10 export categories. Gems and precious metals fell -8.6% due to plummeting gold exports while retreated -1.8%.


Overall Russia generated a $211.2 billion trade surplus during 2018, a 61.3% uptick from the $130.9 billion surplus one year earlier.

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.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$235.5 billion (Up by 12.2% since 2017)
  2. Iron, steel: $18.1 billion (Up by 29.7%)
  3. Cereals: $10.1 billion (Up by 41.3%)
  4. Gems, precious metals: $9.3 billion (Down by -10.9%)
  5. Wood: $8.3 billion (Up by 14.6%)
  6. Fertilizers: $8.1 billion (Up by 14.4%)
  7. Aluminum: $5.3 billion (Down by -2%)
  8. Copper: $4.6 billion (Up by 17.3%)
  9. Nickel: $2.5 billion (Up by 27.7%)
  10. Fish: $2.5 billion (Up by 33.6%)

Russia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude and refined oils, coal and petroleum gases. 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.

  1. Machinery including computers: US-$34.4 billion (Down by -6.3% since 2017)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$25 billion (Up by 11.6%)
  3. Vehicles: -$20.5 billion (Up by 13.3%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: -$9.8 billion (Down by -3.1%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: -$6.6 billion (Up by 10.7%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$5.01 billion (Up by 16%)
  7. Fruits, nuts: -$4.97 billion (Up by 8.6%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$3.5 billion (Up by 9.7%)
  9. Footwear: -$3.2 billion (Up by 6.9%)
  10. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$3.18 billion (Up by 5.3%)

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

Almost 30 Russian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Russia:

  • Gazprom (oil, gas)
  • Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel (iron, steel)
  • Mechel (iron, steel)
  • Severstal (iron, steel)
  • Sistema (telecommunications)
  • Surgutneftegas (oil, gas)

Wikipedia also lists large international trade players from Russia:

  • Alrosa (diversified metals)
  • LukOil (oil, gas)
  • Norilsk Nickel (diversified metals)
  • Novatek (oil, gas)
  • Novolipetsk Steel (iron, steel)
  • Rosneft (oil, gas)
  • Tatneft (oil, gas)
  • Transneft (oil and gas equipment)
  • UC Rusal (aluminum)
  • Uralkali (specialized chemicals)


Searchable List of Russia’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Russia’s top export products are crude oil followed by refined petroleum oils then coal.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from the Russian Federation during 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankRussia's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Crude oil$129 billion+38.3%
2Processed petroleum oils$78.1 billion+34.1%
3Coal, solid fuels made from coal$17 billion+25.9%
4Wheat$8.4 billion+45.6%
5Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)$8 billion+31.9%
6Petroleum gases$7.5 billion-82.7%
7Aluminum (unwrought)$5.3 billion-2.1%
8Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$5 billion+6.7%
9Sawn wood$4.5 billion+12.9%
10Refined copper, unwrought alloys$4.1 billion+13.2%
11Platinum (unwrought)$3.6 billion+11%
12Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$3.4 billion+12.5%
13Fertilizer mixes$3.4 billion+23.8%
14Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$3.2 billion+163%
15Nitrogenous fertilizers$2.8 billion+19.2%
16Whole fish (frozen)$2.6 billion+24.9%
17Pig iron$2.2 billion+32.4%
18Turbo-jets$2.1 billion+8.8%
19Potassic fertilizers$2 billion-4.5%
20Nickel (unwrought)$1.7 billion+25.3%
21Synthetic rubber$1.7 billion-1.4%
22Iron or steel scrap$1.6 billion+23.5%
23Sun/safflower/cotton-seed oil$1.6 billion-10%
24Iron ores, concentrates$1.6 billion+0.6%
25Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$1.5 billion+36.9%
26Rough wood$1.5 billion-0.3%
27Iron ferroalloys$1.4 billion+4.2%
28Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)$1.4 billion+22.8%
29Cars$1.3 billion-2.5%
30Iron and steel tubes, pipes$1.3 billion+6%
31Rubber tires (new)$1.2 billion+3%
32Acyclic hydrocarbons$1.2 billion+52.1%
33Crustaceans (including lobsters)$1.2 billion+24.9%
34Nuclear reactors, fuel elements$1.1 billion-12.1%
35Ammonia$1.1 billion+56.9%
36Iron ore reduced products$1 billion+55.7%
37Copper wire$1 billion+15.9%
38Barley$1 billion+40%
39Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$990.3 million+37.3%
40Iron or steel tubes, pipes$863.5 million+65.2%
41Corn$854.4 million-3.7%
42Electrical energy$808.9 million+26.4%
43Acyclic alcohols$794.6 million+24.9%
44Nickel matte, oxide sinters$794.2 million+29.4%
45Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$745.7 million-10.5%
46Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$727.6 million+27.6%
47Uncoated kraft paper$724.7 million+32.2%
48Gold (unwrought)$697.1 million-70.4%
49Miscellaneous carbon$680.7 million+46.2%
50Coke, semi-coke$679.2 million+14.7%
51Newsprint (rolls or sheets)$653.6 million+39.6%
52Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$650.5 million+30.4%
53Titanium$637.6 million+17.5%
54Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$632 million+15.4%
55Precious metal ores, concentrates$602.5 million+19.2%
56Alloy steel bars, rods$597.7 million+22.7%
57Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$589.2 million+35%
58Cruise/cargo ships, barges$577.8 million-26.5%
59Temperature-change machines$572.3 million+10.5%
60Lignite$563 million+43.2%
61Automobile parts/accessories$560.6 million+8.2%
62Lead ores, concentrates$549.1 million+5.3%
63Cyclic hydrocarbons$543.7 million+34.5%
64Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$514.1 million+16.6%
65Medication mixes in dosage$495.5 million+8.3%
66Phone system devices $485.5 million+13.9%
67Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$485.3 million+31.7%
68Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$484.1 million+11.5%
69Silver (unwrought)$459.9 million+8.6%
70TV receivers/monitors/projectors$444.2 million+22.6%
71Uncoated paper for writing/printing$435.3 million+9.7%
72Alloy steel ingots$431.4 million+17.5%
73Propylene/olefin polymers$429.4 million+2%
74Special purpose vehicles$420.8 million-43.5%
75Insulated wire/cable$416.2 million+24.1%
76Ethylene polymers$414 million-12.4%
77Soya-bean oil$405.7 million+3.6%
78Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$399 million+22.7%
79Miscellaneous engines, motors$396.1 million+2%
80Fish fillets, pieces$384.1 million+10%
81Liquid pumps and elevators$379.5 million+5.1%
82Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$377.1 million+14.4%
83Particle board, other ligneous materials$374.1 million+36.5%
84Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$374 million-23.7%
85Hydrazine, inorganic salts$373.9 million+107.5%
86Electric motors, generators$372.6 million+46.9%
87Trucks$370.8 million+10.4%
88Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$369.2 million+8.3%
89Rape/colza/mustard oil$361.1 million+51.3%
90Railway/streetcar carrier vans, wagons$345.7 million+38.2%
91Other organic cleaning preparations$344.1 million-39.1%
92Carbon electrodes, brushes$342.5 million+119.7%
93Refrigerators, freezers$342.3 million+21%
94Washing machines$340.5 million+5.6%
95Wood/ligneous materials fiberboard$340.4 million+21.5%
96Other measuring/testing machines$334.7 million+18.4%
97Taps, valves, similar appliances$334.1 million+13.9%
98Non-sublimed sulphur$330.6 million+49.9%
99Dried shelled vegetables$324.5 million-21.1%
100Natural calcium/aluminum phosphates$320.2 million-5.6%
101Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust$316.8 million+29.8%
102Ethers$315.4 million+38.5%
103Computers, optical readers$312.4 million+10.9%
104Miscellaneous iron or steel items$307.8 million+13.4%
105Zinc ores, concentrates$305.5 million+63.4%
106Miscellaneous furniture$303.7 million+19.7%
107Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$301.6 million-19.5%
108Printed books, brochures$297 million+2.2%
109Petroleum oil residues$294.2 million+62.1%
110Soya beans$292.7 million+73.7%
111Radar, radio communication items$287 million-32.3%
112Miscellaneous oil cakes$285.6 million+30.1%
113Unrecorded sound media$272.9 million+28.3%
114Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$265.6 million+13.7%
115Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$255.4 million+20.5%
116Electrical machinery$253.8 million-7.9%
117Uncoated paper$252.9 million+34.5%
118Aluminum bars/rods$250.5 million+10.9%
119Vinyl chloride polymers$246.9 million+39.2%
120Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$244.1 million+75.2%
121Railway/tram locomotives, rolling stock$243.8 million+8.7%
122Carbonates, percarbonates$242.6 million+11.4%
123Aluminum wire$242 million-30.8%
124Beryllium$240.9 million+45.1%
125Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$238.3 million-36%
126Lead (unwrought)$237 million-12.5%
127Machinery parts$235 million+49.7%
128Other food preparations$233.4 million+11.2%
129Blood fractions (including antisera)$231.7 million+11.7%
130Non-granulated slag, dross$227.1 million+193%
131Polyamides$226.3 million+19.7%
132Steam/vapor turbines$223.8 million+389.2%
133Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$222.2 million+38.6%
134Electrical converters/power units$215.6 million+31.9%
135Cobalt$215.3 million+247.6%
136Miscellaneous machinery$213.2 million+8.5%
137Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$211.3 million-1.4%
138Float/ground/polished glass in sheets$208.9 million-5.1%
139Iron or non-alloy steel wire$208.4 million+43%
140Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$206.4 million+45.2%
141TV/radio/radar device parts$205.9 million-24.7%
142Beet-pulp, brew/distilling waste$201.9 million+35.7%
143Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$201.3 million+16.6%
144Hair preparations$199.1 million+4.7%
145Nitrile-function compounds$195.8 million+20.6%
146Phosphates, polyphosphates$194.8 million+22.5%
147Styrene polymers$194.1 million+12.4%
148Sodium/potash hydroxide, peroxide$191.8 million+34.5%
149Distilled tar$191.1 million+97.9%
150Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$190.8 million-10%
151Poultry meat$190.7 million+10.3%
152Electric water heaters, hair dryers$189.7 million+32.7%
153Automobile bodies$189.2 million+74.8%
154Rape/colza seeds$188.1 million+141.9%
155Margarine$187.8 million-6.1%
156Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$186.6 million-12%
157Regulate/control instruments$186.5 million-23.1%
158Bottles, flasks, jars, pots$183.3 million+11.9%
159Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$180.1 million+41.4%
160Sugar (cane or beet)$177.9 million-34.8%
161Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$176.3 million+0.1%
162Veneer sheets, sheets for sawn wood$173.9 million+27.4%
163Paper containers, cellulose wadding$172.6 million+19.4%
164Asbestos$171.8 million+1.3%
165Asphalt, similar materials$171.7 million+12.1%
166Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$169.7 million+10.4%
167Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$169.6 million+14.6%
168Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$165.9 million+14.8%
169Chemical industry products/residuals$164.7 million+36.3%
170Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$163.4 million+11%
171Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$159.3 million+10.4%
172Copper ores, concentrates$158.7 million+1088.1%
173Glass fibers$156.8 million+18.4%
174Lower-voltage switches, fuses$156.3 million+9.5%
175Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates$156 million+2%
176Malt beer$150.6 million+16.7%
177Air or vacuum pumps$150 million+20.6%
178Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$150 million+16.4%
179Linseed$147.3 million-22.2%
180Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$145.2 million+9%
181#N/A$143.1 million+2.1%
182Bran, other residues$142.5 million+6.4%
183Railway track construction material$141.3 million+1.9%
184Cellulose fiber paper$140.3 million-4.5%
185Mineral wools including slag-wool, rock-wool$136.8 million+45.1%
186Harvest/threshing machinery$135.9 million+15%
187Sauces, mixed condiments, mixed seasonings$134.9 million-1.1%
188Other animal leather$134.2 million-11.2%
189Ball, roller bearings$130.2 million+10.4%
190Unsaturated acyclic mono acids$125.3 million+34.1%
191Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$125.2 million+4.3%
192Amino-resins$124.8 million+13.5%
193Unused stamps (current or new issue)$124.8 million+22.9%
194Piston engine parts$123.5 million-9.5%
195Engines (diesel)$121.8 million-26.7%
196Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes$114.4 million-4.2%
197Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$114.4 million-3.7%
198Miscellaneous preserved fruits$109 million+8.8%
199Flat-rolled thin alloy steel products$108.4 million+33.8%
200Organic surface-active goods, soap$107.2 million-8%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$367.3 billion or roughly 82% by value for all products exported from the Russian Federation during 2018.

See also Russia’s Top 10 Imports, Russia Top Trading Partners, Top Russian Trade Balances and Russia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 25, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 27, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 25, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 25, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 27, 2019

Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 27, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Russia. Accessed on February 25, 2019

Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 27, 2019

World’s Richest Countries, Targeted research > Enriching insights > Global opportunities (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 27, 2019