China, Russia trade hits highest growth in 12 years amid Ukraine crisis after rising almost 40 per cent
- Bilateral trade between China and Russia rose by 38.5 per cent to US$26.4 billion from the previous year in combined figures for January and February
- This was the highest growth rate for the first two months of the year since 2010 and represented double China’s overall trade growth during the same period
China’s trade growth with Russia rose by almost 40 per cent at the start of the year, hitting the highest level in over a decade, with all eyes on the relationship between Beijing and Moscow amid the escalating Ukraine crisis.
Bilateral trade rose by 38.5 per cent to US$26.4 billion from the previous year in combined figures for January and February, which is the highest growth rate for the first two months of the year since 2010.
It represented double China’s overall trade growth percentage increase during the same period, according to data released on Monday by the General Administration of Customs.
Imports from Russia reached US$13.8 billion, up by 35.8 per cent, and only second to its purchase pace from Indonesia among China’s major trading partners.
It also topped the overall import growth of 15.5 per cent and stood in sharp contrast with a drop of 2.3 per cent of shipments from Australia and a 0.2 per cent decline in purchases from the European Union.
The value of China’s exports to Russia rose by 41.5 per cent in the first two months of the year to US$12.6 billion, which was the highest of all its major trading partners.
Overall, China’s exports rose by 16.3 per cent in the first two months of the year.
Data for January and February are combined to smooth out the impact of the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times during the two months in different years. This year, the week-long holiday started on January 31.
Beijing has refrained from choosing sides amid the unfolding crisis, but has repeatedly said that it will maintain normal trade ties with both Russia and Ukraine.
Hours after Russian troops launched attacks on Ukraine, China announced that it had lifted all import restrictions on Russia wheat.
“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will bring greater uncertainty to global economic development,” Lian Weiliang, a vice-director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Monday.
“Both Russia and Ukraine are participants of the Belt and Road Initiative. China will continue to work with the participating countries, including Russia and Ukraine, to promote the high-quality development of [Belt and Road Initiative] in the spirit of peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.”
Author: Orange Wang, SCMP