In 2023, Russian exports to Europe dropped by more than two-thirds as a result of the EU significantly reducing its purchases of Russian oil and gas, according to the Russian customs agency. This action was taken in an effort to put economic pressure on Moscow due to its military offensive against Ukraine. The decline in exports to Europe reached 68%, amounting to $84.9 billion. Meanwhile, exports to Asia, which has become Russia’s primary energy customer, increased by 5.6% to $306.6 billion.
Due to Western sanctions, Moscow ceased publishing various economic statistics, including trade data with individual countries. However, separate Chinese customs data indicated that two-way trade between Russia and China reached a record $240 billion in 2023, reflecting the growing economic, trade, and political ties between the two nations. The Russian Central Bank also reported that Chinese yuan deposits in Russian bank accounts surpassed US dollars for the first time, as the Russian financial system embraced the Chinese currency to overcome sanctions preventing access to the dollar.
Russia’s overall trade surplus in 2023 was $140 billion, marking a 58.5% decline compared to the exceptional energy revenues achieved in 2022. During 2022, the offensive on Ukraine caused a surge in oil and gas prices, and Europe continued to purchase Russian energy for a significant portion of the year.
In addition to China becoming Russia’s primary energy customer and depositing money into their bank accounts using yuan instead of dollars due to sanctions restrictions.
The news came out after Russia stopped publishing various economic statistics due to Western sanctions imposed on them following their military offensive against Ukraine.
As a result of these actions taken by EU and China’s growing ties with Russia despite Western sanctions imposed on them.
The decline in exports was significant as it led Russia’s economy facing hard times with their reduced revenue streams from Europe and increased competition from other sources like China who is now one of their primary customers for oil and gas.