23 Oct 2009 11:09

Russian-Chinese trade expected to fall in 2009 - official

BEIJING. Oct 23 (Interfax) - The volume of trade between Russia and China could decline in 2009 compared to last year, Russia's trade representative to China Sergei Tsyplakov told Interfax.

"The recent drop in bilateral trade caused by the global financial crisis has not been overcome. Judging by the results of the first three quarters of 2009, trade between our countries will record negative growth [this year]," Tsyplakov said.

The volume of trade between Russia and China plunged 34.8% to $28.4 billion in January-September 2009 year-on-year, according to the Chinese Customs Service's reports, the Russian official said.

Russia's exports to China declined 17.9% to $16.3 billion in the first nine months of 2009 year-on-year. Russia imported $12.1 billion worth of Chinese commodities in January-September 2009, a 48.9% fall as compared with the same period last year.

"If we look at the situation on a quarterly basis, we could observe a tendency toward a lower amplitude of this decline in Russian exports. Russian deliveries [to China] dropped 40.3% in the first quarter, 9.7% in the second quarter, and 8% in the third quarter," the Russian official said.

"It shows that the situation surrounding Russia's exports to China is stabilizing gradually," he added.

"However, the situation with Chinese exports to Russia is more complicated," Tsyplakov said.

Even experts' quarterly analysis of the volume of China's exports to Russia shows "a steady decline," he said.

The volume of Russian-Chinese trade went up 18% to a record high of $56.83 billion in 2008 year-on-year.