Year over year, the most recent $198.2 billion in black ink represents an 87.9% increase compared to the $105.5-billion surplus that the Russian Federation earned during 2020.
Mobile phones, automobile parts or accessories, medication mixes in dosage, computers and cars are the major commodities causing Russia’s highest trade deficits by product. In contrast, Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and Poland are the top 5 trade partners at the expense of which Russia earned the highest positive trade surpluses.
To put Russia’s $198.2 billion trade surplus metric into further perspective, the country’s total external debt encompassing both public and private red ink equaled -$478.2 billion at December 2021. Russia’s external debt is over twice the size of its positive international trade balance.
Top Russian Trade Balances by Product and Country
The following 10 leading products generated a surplus subtotal of $259.7 billion for Russia in its global trade during 2021. Metrics listed below highlight Russia’s strongest competitive advantages over worldwide trading partners.
- Crude oil: US$110.1 billion (Up 51.8% since 2020)
- Processed petroleum oils: $68.6 billion (Up 54.8%)
- Gold (unwrought): $17.3 billion (Down -6.3%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $17.1 billion (Up 42.1%)
- Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished): $9.2 billion (Up 89.5%)
- Petroleum gases: $8.7 billion (Up 11.5%)
- Platinum (unwrought): $8.4 billion (Up 7.6%)
- Wheat: $7.2 billion (Down -8.1%)
- Aluminum (unwrought): $7 billion (Up 67.6%)
- Sawn wood: $6 billion (Up 43.7%)
From 2020 to 2021, the fastest growers among Russia’s top 10 product surpluses were semi-finished products made from iron or non-alloy steel (up 89.5%), raw aluminum (up 67.6%), processed petroleum oils (up 54.8%), crude oil (up 51.8%) and sawn wood (up 43.7%).
Year over year, top Russian trade surpluses shrank for wheat (down -8.1%) and gold (down -6.3%).
The 10 major products below accumulated a deficit subtotal of -$57.2 billion for Russia in international trade during 2021. Russia has demonstrated the severest competitive disadvantages in the exports and imports of the following commodities.
- Phone devices including smartphones: -US-$11 billion (Up 22% since 2020)
- Automobile parts/accessories: -$9.9 billion (Up 39.6%)
- Medication mixes in dosage: -$8.6 billion (Up 31.2%)
- Computers, optical readers: -$7.4 billion (Up 22%)
- Cars: -$6.6 billion (Up 48.5%)
- Temperature-change machines: -$3.3 billion (Up 38.9%)
- Cruise/cargo ships, barges: -$3.2 billion (Up 256%)
- Heavy machinery (e.g. bulldozers, excavators): -$2.6 billion (Up 96.5%)
- Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): -$2.4 billion (Up 7.5%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: -$2.1 billion (Up 10.6%)
Year over year, Russia’s red ink expanded in cost at the fastest pace for cruise or cargo ships (up 256% from 2020), heavy machinery like bulldozers or excavators (up 96.5%), cars (up 48.5%), automobile parts or accessories (up 39.6%) then temperature-change machines (up 38.9%).
There were no reductions in deficits among Russia’s 10 leading products for generating red ink.
In 2021, Russia generated a surplus subtotal worth $129.4 billion with the following 10 trading partners.
- Netherlands: US$37.9 billion (Up 79.7% since 2020)
- Turkey: $20 billion (Up 84.9%)
- United Kingdom: $17.8 billion (Down -10.1%)
- Kazakhstan: $11.3 billion (Up 26%)
- Poland: $10.9 billion (Up 131.6%)
- Italy: $7.3 billion (Reversing a -$136.1 million deficit)
- Belarus: $7.2 billion (Up 112.6%)
- Belgium: $6.2 billion (Up 71.7%)
- Finland: $6.1 billion (Up 45.6%)
- United Arab Emirates: $4.8 billion (Up 87.4%)
Increasing from 2020 to 2021 were Russian trade surpluses with Poland (up 131.6%), Belarus (up 112.6%), United Arab Emirates (up 87.4%), Turkey (up 84.9%) and the Netherlands (up 79.7%).
In addition, the Russian Federation reversed a -$136.1 million deficit trading with Italy in 2020 to then post a $7.3 billion surplus for 2021.
The sole shrinkage in surplus from the top trade partners was the -10.1% reduction in black ink resulting from Russia trading with the United Kingdom.
Russia experienced a losing international trade relationship with 71 countries, islands or territories during 2021. The following 10 trade partners created an -$18.4 billion deficit subtotal in 2021 from exchanging exports and imports.
- China: -US$4.6 billion (Down -19.4% since 2020)
- Vietnam: -$2.7 billion (Up 9.3%)
- France: -$2.3 billion (Down -30.9%)
- Indonesia: -$1.9 billion (Up 58.8%)
- Ireland: -$1.6 billion (Up 26%)
- Sweden: -$1.4 billion (Up 60.9%)
- Thailand: -$1.3 billion (Up 21.8%)
- Ecuador: -$999.5 million (Down -5.7%)
- Paraguay: -$800.4 million (Up 50.5%)
- Chile: -$674.9 million (Down -16.3%)
Year over year, Russia’s trade deficit with Sweden grew the fastest via an 60.9% expansion from 2020 to 2021. Other high percentage increases belong to Indonesia (up 58.8%), Paraguay (up 50.5%), Ireland (up 26%) and Thailand (up 21.8%).
In contrast, Russia reduced the size of its negative trade balance by double-digit percentages with France (down -30.9%), mainland China (down -19.4%) and Chile (down -16.3%) over the latest annual period.
See also Russia’s Top 10 Imports, Russia Top Trading Partners, Russia’s Top 10 Exports and Russia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on March 11, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 11, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 11, 2022
Trading Economics, Russia Total Gross External Debt , Summary. Accessed on March 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Economy of Russia. Accessed on March 11, 2022