11 Apr 2024 16:41

Russian current account surplus widened 43% to $22 bln in Q1 - Central Bank

MOSCOW. April 11 (Interfax) - Russia's current account surplus widened 43% to $22 billion in Q1 2024 from $15.4 billion in the same period of last year, according to an estimate published on the Central Bank's website.

The surplus widened due to a reduction of the deficit in the balance on services, primary and secondary income, the Central Bank said.

The surplus grew 2.6-fold to $13.4 billion in March, from $5.2 billion in February.

The March growth was a result of the significant increase in exports of goods and the decrease in the total negative influence of primary and secondary income.

The March surplus was up 80% from $7.3 billion in the same month last year.

The merchandise trade surplus widened 2% to $31.1 billion in Q1 2024 from $30.4 billion in Q1 2023.

The trade surplus rose 2.2-fold to $16.7 billion in March from $7.7 billion in February and was up 29% from $12.9 billion in March 2023.

Exports fell 7% in Q1 to $97.9 billion from $105.1 billion, and imports 11%, to $66.8 billion from $74.7 billion.

Exports in March 2024 are estimated at $39.6 billion, which is 31% more than February's adjusted figure of $30.3 billion and 3% less than $40.9 billion in March 2023.

Imports in March amounted to $22.9 billion, which is 1% higher than the February figure of $22.6 billion but 18% lower than $28.0 billion in March 2023.

There was a services trade deficit of $7.7 billion in Q1, down $2.9 billion or 38% from $7.6 billion a year previously. The deficit arose as services imports fell and exports grew.

The services deficit rose to $1.9 billion in March from $0.6 billion in February, adjusted from $1.4 billion - the key driver was the seasonal increase in number of residents' trips abroad, recorded in imports of services under Travel.

The total deficit in primary and secondary income fell 41% to $4.4 billion, from $7.4 billion a year earlier, affected by a decrease in the amount of dividends accrued in favor of non-residents as well as paid personal transfers.

Foreign assets excluding reserve assets increased by $22.6 billion in Q1 2024 compared with $6.3 billion growth a year earlier due, among other things, due to the lags in settlements for foreign economic activity.

The reduction in external liabilities slowed to $3.7 billion in Q1 2024 from $11.7 billion in Q1 2023 due, among other things, to a reduction of the volume of non-resident withdrawals from the Russian.

International reserves declined by $6.9 billion mainly as a consequence of transactions with the funds of the National Wealth Fund.

Reserve assets decreased by $4.0 billion in March compared with a drop of $2 billion in February, mainly as a result of transactions with funds of the National Wealth Fund, as well as a temporary increase in swap transactions limits at the end of the month to smooth the volatility of domestic money market rates for foreign currency.

The Central Bank's baseline scenario, updated in February, assumes that if Brent crude trades at $80 per barrel there will be a current account surplus of $42 billion, visible trade surplus of $115 billion, deficit in services trade of $31 billion and primary and secondary incomes deficit of $42 billion in 2024.