24 Nov 2010 19:06

Russian trade surplus contracts 9.8% to $10.1 bln in Oct - econ ministry

MOSCOW. Nov 24 (Interfax) - Russia's foreign trade surplus decreased 9.8% year-on-year to $10.1 billion this October from $11.2 billion last October, according to Economic Development Ministry economic monitoring for the period January-October.

October goods exports, the ministry estimates, came to $34.7 billion, 13.8% up year-on-year and 2.1% up from September.

October goods imports reached $24.6 billion, 27.9% up on last October and 4.5% more than the preceding month.

In January-October, the trade surplus was $124.8 billion, up 41.7% from the $87.5 billion of the same ten months last year.

The ministry puts Russia's foreign trade turnover for the ten-month period at $518.5 billion, up 33.3% year-on-year.

Jan-Oct exports, the ministry calculates, increased 35.0% year-on-year to $321.7 billion, including $273.1 billion worth of exports to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (up 36.2%), and $48.5 billion worth to CIS countries (up 28.7%).

The value of Russia's exports in Jan-Oct increased as compared with Jan-Oct 2009 mainly due to higher prices for Russia's main export goods, primarily oil.

The price of Urals oil increased 12.4% year-on-year in October alone to $81.5/barrel, and the price was up 5.3% from September.

According to London Metal Exchange figures, October prices for copper, aluminum, and nickel were up a respective 31.9%, 24.9%, and 28.5% year-on-year, though steel prices dipped 5.7%.

October natural gas prices, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were $311.0 per 1,000 cubic meters, up 33.9% from last October.

Initial figures indicate that Russia's exports of oil and bituminous coal were down a respective 1.2% and 15.2% year-on-year in October, while natural gas exports increased 4.2%. For the period Jan-Oct, exports of natural gas were up 12.1% year-on-year, of bituminous coal - 10%, and of oil - 1.1%.

Jan-Oct imports, the Economic Development Ministry reckons, increased 30.5% year-on-year and were worth $196.8 billion, including imports from non-CIS countries - up 27.7% ($168.4 billion), and from CIS countries - up 50.3% ($28.4 billion).