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Foreign Trade in 2020: Overcoming the Downturn

Alexander Yu. Knobel – Head of Foreign Trade Department of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy; Director of Center for Foreign Trade Department of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Director of the Institute for International Economics and Finance, Russian Foreign Trade Academy, Candidate of Economic Sciences (Moscow, Russia). Е-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alexander S. Firanchuk – Senior Researcher of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Moscow, Russia). Е-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Though global prices of energy resources did not return completely to the pre-crisis levels, the Russian foreign trade turnover in general recovered from the pandemic-driven downturn. The recovery of trade in services is slower because of travelling restrictions which are still in force.

In 2020, exports of energy and primary commodities fell by 35.2% on the back of a decrease in global prices of energy resources. Non-oil and gas exports increased by 4.1% owing to three-fold growth in sales of gold. Without taking into account exports of gold, non-oil and gas exports decreased by 4.3% with a depreciation of export prices (-4.1%), particularly, of metals, chemical products and timber. Exports of high-tech goods decreased by 14% due to the contraction of export volumes. In 2020, the importation of goods declined by 5.1%. The pandemic brought about a four-fold drop in the travelling services sector’s turnover leading to a dramatic decrease in exports (-28%) and imports (-36%) of services.

Key words: foreign trade, export, import, exchange rate, pandemic.

JEL-codes: F10, F14.