Despite sanctions that were supposed to cripple Russia’s economy, the country has reported a record-breaking balance of payments surplus in the second quarter of this year.
The $70.1 billion surplus is the highest since 1994, after posting a surplus of $58.4 billion in the first three months of the year.
The explanation for the data published by the Russian central bank on Monday evening is simple: Moscow’s energy and raw material exports have continuously produced and are still generating dollar revenues, even if the direction of oil and gas exports has shifted as a result of Western sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
On the import side, however, a strong decrease could be observed as a result of the sanctions, the data shows. Goods and services worth $72.3 billion arrived in Russia in the second quarter, compared to $88.7 billion in the January-March period. Exports also took a similar direction as Russian exports decreased from $166.4 billion dollars in the first quarter to $153.1 billion dollars in the second.
While the Russian central bank did not provide direct data, analysts’ calculations show that the surplus increased from $14 billion in May to $28 billion in June and, thanks to the significant balance of payments surplus so far this year, the ruble was the best performer among emerging market currencies.
The numbers show and emphasize that despite Western sanctions, the Russians have no lack of foreign currencies (specifically dollars), and they are using their revenues mostly to finance the war against Ukraine.