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VTB: Russia's trade surplus at USD 12.6 bn

October 10, 2012
According to the CBR, the trade surplus improved to USD 12.6bn in August (-12.0% YoY) from USD 11.1bn in July. Exports declined 5.6% YoY, bringing August volumes to USD 42.1bn. Meanwhile, imports also decreased; they were down 2.5% YoY to USD 29.4bn.

Following the publication of figures by customs, the CBR has released its estimate of the trade balance for August. We highlight that the CBR’s export figure of USD 42.1bn came well above that from customs (USD 40.7 bn). Furthermore, the difference of USD 1.4bn is the largest ever. In our view, the customs data might be revised up later. We highlighting the surprisingly low level of exports. Imports came slightly above our expectations, but this was expected as CBR officials have mentioned several times of late that the low imports readings from customs are a surprise.

The current trade surplus is enough to cover the deficit in other components of the current account, meaning that the current account is adding support for RUB. We expect the trade balance to improve in September-October, but see substantial risks of it deteriorating in November-December on the back of seasonal factors and lower oil prices.

Maxim Oreshkin, Daria Isakova
VTB Capital analysts