In the second quarter of 2022, Russia’s current account surplus hit $70.1 billion, its highest mark since at least 1994, according to data from the Russian central bank released on Monday.
Exports fell to $153.1 billion from $166.4 billion in the first quarter, but imports saw a steeper drop, falling to $72.3 billion from $88.7 billion. For the first six months of the year, the current account surplus reached $138.5 billion, the central bank said.
Rising energy prices and commodity exports buoyed Moscow’s finances even as Western nations imposed sanctions amid the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, imports have fallen as the US and its allies moved to isolate the Russian economy from the global financial network.
“A growing trade surplus says a lot about what is going well for Russia, from high commodity prices to sustained demand from many export partners,” said economist Scott Johnson. Bloomberg. “But it is also a symptom of distress, with a drop in imports causing disruption throughout the economy.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s strict capital controls have made the ruble the best performing currency against the dollar this year, even though it had plummeted to less than a penny at the start of the war in Ukraine.