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China’s exports to Russia fall again in April

China’s yuan-denominated exports to Russia fell again in April from a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, possibly hurt by U.S. sanctions on Russia to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

In yuan terms, China’s outbound shipments to Russia fell 10.8% last month year-on-year, compared with a 13% drop in March, customs data showed. Exports to Russia used to grow at a double-digit pace in 2023, with some months growing at a much higher rate.

The U.S. has imposed an array of sanctions on Russia and Russian entities since the Ukraine crisis in 2022. Now the threat of extending the sanctions to banks in China is chilling the finance that lubricates even non-military trade from China to Russia.

Reuters reported last week that this is posing a growing problem for small Chinese exporters, citing seven trading and banking sources familiar with the situation.

Russia has described its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”.
Imports from Russia grew at a robust 23% pace in April, customs data showed, faster than the 12.3% rise in March.

Two-way trade between the countries hit 543.7 billion yuan ($75.25 billion) in the first four months, up 7.9% year-on-year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 25 that he planned to visit China in May, likely to be the first overseas visit of his new six-year term.

In dollar terms, China’s exports to Russia fell 14% in April while imports grew 19%.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Beijing newsroom, Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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