The European Union’s trade with Russia has been strongly affected by import and export restrictions imposed by the EU following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on September 1.
Both exports and imports have dropped considerably below the level prior to the invasion. Seasonally adjusted values show that Russia’s share in extra-EU imports fell from 9.6 per cent in February 2022 to 1.7 per cent in June 2023, while the share of extra-EU exports fell from 3.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent in the same period, Eurostat said.
In March 2022, the month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU experienced a peak trade deficit with Russia caused by high prices of energy products. The deficit amounted to 18.5 billion euro.
This deficit was brought down to 0.4 billion euro by June 2023, remaining under one billion four months in a row in 2023. The change was heavily influenced by the 18.6 billion euro drop in the monthly value of imports from Russia between March 2022 (21.9 billion euro) and June 2023 (3.3 billion euro). At the same time, the value of exports decreased from 3.4 billion euro in March 2022 to 2.9 billion euro in June 2023.
Looking at the quarterly data, in the second quarter of 2023, the EU-Russia trade balance for goods registered a deficit of 1.6 billion euro, indicating a great improvement from the 45 billion euro deficit observed in the second quarter of 2022.
This substantial deficit decrease can be largely attributed to the decline in energy imports from Russia, Eurostat said. The trade deficit in energy has been reduced from 40.4 billion euro in the second quarter of 2022 to 5.7 billion euro in the second quarter of 2023.
Over the past two years, the EU’s reliance on energy imports from Russia has seen a noticeable decline, Eurostat said.
Specifically, shares of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum oil imported from Russia have substantially decreased. Comparing the second quarter of 2021 with the second quarter of 2023, petroleum dropped 27 percentage points (pp) (from 29.2 per cent in 2021 to 2.3 per cent in 2023), natural gas 26 pp (from 38.5 per cent to 12.9 per cent), and coal 45 pp (from 45.0 per cent to 0 per cent), Eurostat said.
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