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Russia's foreign trade in the first quarter 2007 grew about 18%
Russia's foreign trade in the first quarter 2007 grew about 18%, year-on-year, to $107.8 billion, the Federal Customs Service said Friday. But the trade surplus in the period declined 20.5%, to $33.6 billion, the service said. "Customs statistics show that Russia's foreign trade in January-March 2007 amounted to $107.8 billion, up 17.9% on January-March 2006, including to $91.5 billion (up 17.7%) with countries outside the former Soviet Union, and to $16.3 billion (up 19.6%) with the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]," the service said. Russia's exports in the period totaled $70.7 billion, rising 5.8% year-on-year. Imports hit $37.1 billion, a 51.1% growth. Exports have been dominated by energy resources, but the service reported a rise in machinery, chemical products and steel supplies from the country. Hydrocarbons accounted for 66.6% of overall exports to states outside the post-Soviet alliance (down 5.5%, year-on-year). Crude supplies grew 6.1% and oil derivatives exports increased 2.5%, year-on-year. Steel and steel products accounted for 16.4%, chemical products 5.8%, timber and paper and pulp for 3.6%, and machinery for 2.6% of exports. Russia imported vehicles and equipment (50.8% of all imports). Car and truck imports in that period grew 63.6% and over 56%, respectively. The import of meat increased 20.1%, fish by 29.8% and sugar by 49% in January-March 2007, year-on-year. But Russia cut cereal imports by 41.6%, mainly over a drastic rice import decline over quality suspicions. Liquor imports doubled in the period. In trade with the CIS, hydrocarbons also prevailed, accounting for 39.9% of exports to ex-Soviet states. Crude supplies have remained almost unchanged compared to January-March 2006, but supplies of oil products and coal grew 88.8% and 25.9%, respectively. Exports also included lumber, rolled steel, nickel, aluminum, cars, trucks and some other commodities. Russia has halved sugar and liquor purchases from the region, but increased meat imports 7.1-fold, the service said. The European Union's share in Russia's trade balance has shrunk somewhat in favor of ex-Soviet states. The EU remains Russia's largest trade partner, but its share in Russian commodity turnover in January-March 2007 was 51.9% compared with 56.6% in that period last year, the service said.
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