Russia’s top 10 exports accounted for 70.3% 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 $3.474 trillion in 2015. Therefore, exports accounted for about 9.6% of total Russian economic output.
From a continental perspective, 57.1% of Russian exports by value are delivered to European countries while 35.6% are sold to Asian importers. Russia ships another 3.2% to North America.
Given Russia’s population of 142.4 million people, its total $331.5 billion in 2015 exports translates to roughly $2,342 for every resident in that country.
Russia’s unemployment rate was 5.8% as of 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 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Russia.
1. Gems, precious metals: US$7.4 billion (2.2% of total exports)
2. Machines, engines, pumps: $8.1 billion (2.4%)
3. Cereals: $5.5 billion (1.7%)
4. Aluminum: $6.9 billion (2.1%)
5. Wood: $6.2 billion (1.8%)
6. Fertilizers: $8.6 billion (2.6%)
7. Copper: $4.2 billion (1.2%)
8. Iron and steel: $14.9 billion (4.5%)
9. Oil: $168.7 billion (50.6%)
10. Inorganic chemicals: $3.7 billion (1.1%)
Gems and precious metals were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 99.5% for the 5-year period starting in 2011.
In second place for improving export sales was Russian machinery which was up 52.8%.
Russia’s cereals including wheat posted the third-fastest gain in value at 24.5%.
All other top 10 product categories declined in value, ranging from a -11.1% drop for aluminum to a -52.7% deterioration for inorganic chemicals.
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.
- Oil: US$166 billion (Down by -52.2% since 2011)
- Iron and steel: $11.7 billion (Down by -25.3%)
- Fertilizers: $8.5 billion (Down by -14.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $6.8 billion (Up by 90.4%)
- Aluminum: $5.9 billion (Down by -8.9%)
- Wood: $5.5 billion (Down by -7.2%)
- Cereals: $5.2 billion (Up by 28%)
- Copper: $3.7 billion (Down by -12.1%)
- Nickel: $2.4 billion (Down by -45.1%)
- Fish: $1.4 billion (Up by 1,711%)
Russia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil. In turn, these cashflows indicate Russia’s strong competitive advantages under the fossil fuel product 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.
- Machines, engines, pumps: -US$25.2 billion (Down by -45.6% since 2011)
- Electronic equipment: -$17.2 billion (Down by -37.7%)
- Vehicles: -$12.3 billion (Down by -64.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$7.8 billion (Down by -39.1%)
- Plastics: -$5.2 billion (Down by -38.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$3.8 billion (Down by -38.8%)
- Medical, technical equipment: -$3.7 billion (Down by -41.7%)
- Meat: -$2.9 billion (Down by -52.8%)
- Clothing (not knit or crochet): -$2.4 billion (Down by -28.0%)
- Knit or crochet clothing: -$2.3 billion (Down by -30.7%)
Russia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery.
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 February 12, 2016
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 12, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 12, 2016
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 12, 2016